Out of nowhere, Lily was afraid to go to school. I know this is normal for lots of kids, but it was weird for her because she’s never really been afraid of anything. One of Chris’ favourite games to play with the kids is to get down on the ground, growl, and pretend he’s gonna get them. Almost every kid he’s played this with will giggle like crazy, then turn to run/crawl away. But not Lily. She would ground herself, growl in his face, and then charge at him! I’ve never seen another kid do that in my entire life. Lily is a warrior!
So this was new territory for us. She was afraid she’d have to go to the bathroom, and what if she got locked in the stall, and what if the toilet overflowed while she was locked in there, and what if she couldn’t find us when she needed us?!!! All these fears began to show up seemingly as if from thin air.
So we did all the good parenting things that you’re supposed to do, like asking her if something happened, and talking to her teacher, and getting advice from our parents, and Googling “How to help your kid with her anxiety” - all of which gave us great information, but something was still missing.
When I got really quiet, my intuition came through loud and clear - Lily is growing up. She’s always been a free spirit, almost completely unaware of the world around her. She was fearless because she didn’t know there was anything to be afraid of. Now that she’s becoming more aware, that’s changing. She’s suddenly very aware of all the things that she should be afraid of.
So we celebrated! We explained to her that this means her brain is growing, and she’s getting older and bigger and how wonderful it is. We gave her language to make friends with her Fear, and a bunch of strategies to work with it.
And of course, because our kids are almost always teaching us something, I quickly realized the parallels between this situation and what was going on in my own life.
The word “enlightened” sounds so lovely. Oh…..enlightened! Yes, that sounds nice. I would like to be enlightened. Who wouldn’t?
But the truth is that the more I wake up, the more I became aware of what’s going on in the world around me. And there are terrible, tragic things happening all the time. The more I see, the more anger, fear, and hopelessness I feel.
And while our culture would tell us that happiness is the goal, and if you’re not happy you’re not doing it right, and Sadness/Fear/Anger are bad, the truth is that if you’re feeling all of those things it’s actually wonderful! It means you’re waking up and it’s worth celebrating!
I had forgotten this. When I look back on the past year, I have felt the full range of emotions including a lot of Sadness, Fear, and Anger. Our little family has changed dramatically, and I’ve been scared about how it will all shake out. I’ve had many moments when I thought something must be wrong with me because I’m not happy as often as I used to be.
But there’s nothing wrong with feeling sadness, anger, or frustration sometimes. Obviously, if they are the only things you feel then please talk to someone. But if you’re not happy all the time it doesn’t mean you’re broken.
I thought that being on a path of awakening was going to be all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns. It isn’t. And thank goodness Lily was here to point me back to what my heart knows is true.
Helping Lily with her Fear wasn’t a smooth road. We had the same conversations over and over again. There were lots of deep breaths, while we tried to regain our patience. One day was so bad we just let her skip school and stay home for movie/cuddle time, because that’s what was needed.
But it’s just like everything we do for our kids….and every moment we spend on our own consciousness…..
It’s worth it.