Facing Fear (Part 2)
I will never forget the first time that I held my daughter. The immediate sense of attachment I felt to the tiny ball of swaddle and human that was placed in my arms. The joy of having a child, the curiosity for her future, and a sudden small feeling of fear that I was not good enough to be the one to take care of her. I am not a perfect person, by any means, after all. There are even some days when I have wondered if I am even a good person. I am flawed in so many ways. But there I was being made partially responsible for another human life and that terrified at least some small part of me.
I have been told that babies have a heightened sense of other people's emotions before and I believe it. Almost as soon as I felt that feeling of fear come over me, Gabriella started to cry. This of course only made me more afraid, then she seemed to cry more and it felt to me like it was quickly spiraling out of control. In my memory, this went on for an eternity. But that eternity was broken by the sound of laughter. My wife's laughter to be exact. Apparently, I must have looked as scared of our crying daughter as I felt because Erin was laughing at me. She handed me a pacifier, corrected the way I was holding the baby, and soothed our daughter with a gentle touch on her head.
When we are faced with things that we fear it is important to remember that we are not in this alone. Life is not a single-player game. At that moment I had no idea what to do and my wife covered for me. The greatest defense against your deepest fear is someone to stand with you as you face it. We have faced some terrifying things in our marriage: Multiple Sclerosis, Chemotherapy, Infertility, and Adoption just to cover the really big ones. I could not have done any of those things on my own; and as strong as my wife is, I don't think she could have either, but we persevered. Hand in hand we found strength in each other and not only did we survive all that, we thrived. By counting on one another to cover our weak points, learning from each other, and giving each other enough slack when something falls through the cracks, we built a home we could truly call our own.
Now does having someone that I know has my back mean I am not scared anymore? Absolutely not! I still worry every day if I am doing enough for my children. I worry about the future that lies ahead of them. I pray that we can provide a home they will want to come back to once they move on with their lives, and more often than just holidays. Especially once we added Sebastian and Simon to the mix, I worry if I am doing enough to help my stay-at-home wife who is doing the bulk of the work when it comes to them. All of my worries are born of the fears that I will let this family down. That is my greatest fear. Not heights, clowns, spiders, or even snakes.
Failure is ultimately the greatest fear of most people. We are afraid that we are not good enough. But here is what I have ultimately come to understand after having kids: I am not good enough. There are days I fail my kids. There are days they drive me crazy and I get mad. There are days when I am tired and I don't give them all the attention they deserve. But I don't let those days stop me. I take a deep breath and we keep playing. I rally after work and push on till bedtime when I can collapse on the couch with my wife. I am not good enough, but for them, I will get better. We don't fail because we have bad days. We fail because we give up. So if you are struggling ask someone who loves you for help. If you have a bad day, don't hold that feeling with you. Just try to do better tomorrow. Greatness is not achieved overnight. So keep going, whatever it is, you got this! And I cannot stress this enough, swallow your pride and ask someone for help. Humans are only so strong alone, but together we can do incredible things.
I hope that you have succeeded in everything you did today and if not I pray it goes better tomorrow. I am just another confused father from Kansas wondering...
How did I end up here?