Over the next several months, I’ll be blogging about 30 preset topics based on this post. Check it out and take the challenge yourself. And come back often to see more blogs from me.
You don’t have to spend a whole lot of time with me to figure out what I’m most afraid of. I don’t have many fears and honestly, I’m proud of what I’ve managed to do to overcome my fears.
The first one I think is pretty normal for any mom or wife and that’s a fear of losing my loved ones unexpectedly. When I was dealing with PPD this fear was outrageous. I had severe anxiety every time my husband went to work. If he wasn’t home at exactly 4 p.m. I immediately assumed the worst. It wasn’t pretty. I’m much more relaxed now that my head is in a better place but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still one of my greatest fears.
Secondly, I am afraid of being burned. I’ve never been badly burnt before but have seen both my brothers suffer. One from touching a hot lawn mower at maybe 2 years old? And the other for forgetting to use potholders getting something out of the oven as an early teen. Neither have any permanent damage or scars but for whatever reason, this terrified me for much of my adult life so much so that I did almost no cooking at all.
I made a goal this year as part of my resolutions to cook more. I started slow with basic recipes but I’m kind of a regular now. I still have this “Omg, its piping hot!” thought in the back of my mind but it doesn’t rear its ugly head too often.
My real, biggest, craziest, debilitating fear though is severe weather. I don’t really count this fear as an irrational one because it only takes one look at the damage from a tornado to realize just how powerful weather is. I never had a major issue with storms growing up. I’m not even entirely sure at what point the fear started. I remember going to summer camp as a kid and being just fine at first but as the years went on, I was utterly terrified. I think the real fear was created in 2006 though, just a month before our wedding.
Princess Daddy and I went with two friends to visit a country line dancing club. We neglected to pay attention to the news that day and had no idea that we were under warnings for severe weather. The wind picked up as we were on the highway. We saw semi trucks pulling over under overpasses, people leaving the highway in masses at the last barren exit before crossing the river but this was before smartphones, weather apps and traffic alerts to our phones. We were young and naïve and just kept driving.
Suddenly we found ourselves stuck on an uncovered bridge over the Mississippi River in stopped traffic behind an overturned 18 wheeler. Lightening was striking trees in our eyesight. The sound of thunder was deafening. The normally smooth flowing river was choppy with white-capped waves like we were seeing an ocean because of the wind. We could feel the bridge swaying and the wind violently rocking our car. It seemed like an eternity but after about 20 minutes we made it off the bridge.
By this time it was raining so hard, the only thing we could see was the white line on the side of the road. We had no idea where we were but knowing we were still about 15-20 minutes from our destination, we followed the line off the highway to an exit with a Mobile gas station and McDonald’s restaurant across the street from one another. We chose the Mobile. Princess Daddy and I quickly got out of the car and went into the building. Our friends stayed in the car. Tornado sirens started whirring and just as quickly, the glass was rattling. The cashier quickly ushered us and the other customers into the vault room where we crouched under the counter as a small tornado whipped past. (Our friends and all the others at the gas station rushed in while the sirens went off.) The tornado hit across the street, knocking down power lines and the large McDonald’s sign, tearing up the fields and flipping over vehicles. (Ours was spared.) The pressure from the storm blew open freezer doors and knocked all the dust out of heating and cooling vents overhead. Canned goods and snacks fell off the shelves. And yes, it sounded like a freight train rumbling by.
It was over as quickly as it started. After determining we were all safe, we went on to the club and tried to enjoy our evening. As we arrived home late that night, it was pretty much the worst thing we’d ever seen. Not a single business or home in our city had power. Tree limbs were down everywhere, on houses, and blocking roads. And everything was black. You never really notice how much light is on at nighttime: street lamps and stop lights, business signs and porch lights; until there is no power. The streets were empty. No one had anywhere to go.
The fear only increased as time went on. Weather patterns have changed in recent years making our Midwestern state more of a target for these vicious storms than ever before. In the last two years, we’ve had three almost identical storms touch down within miles from our home. Facing the task of now not only keeping myself safe, but my three girls too, brings me anxiety just writing about it.
To combat this fear, I pay better attention to weather alerts and I follow the age-old Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared.” (Princess Daddy IS an Eagle Scout and all.) We have gallons of spare water, a huge tote full of supplies. We have a storm shelter of sorts created in our basement that has been secured with hurricane ties. We do everything we can to keep ourselves safe. If the sirens go off, we no longer hesitate.
This doesn’t mean I’m not covered in stress hives crouched in our basement, shaking or in tears waiting for the storm to pass though. I made it through one tornado alone with the girls and if I had to I’d do anything to protect them. Keeping them from being scared helps me but honestly, I’m okay with my daughters seeing me scared. It makes me human. It shows them it is okay to be afraid but also to face their fears.
And it doesn’t make me look bad. They think I’m a super hero still, no matter what.