I found some closure watching Godzilla with Kurt at the cinema the other day.
‘Closure’ in terms of facing my fears.
Admittedly, two hours of a CGI monster was small-fry compared to the week I’ve just survived with my son.
Yes, I’ve been facing my fears in more ways than one this week.
Now you might think that Godzilla is tame in comparison to many contemporary horror films, but after my father thought it educational to force me to watch the original version, I didn’t sleep for about ten years.
I’ve always had a vivid imagination and have scared easily. For the first twenty years of my life, I developed this ritual at bedtime like a lot of kids, of doing a long jump (the scale of which, unfortunately, I could never repeat in the athletics carnival at school) from the light switch straight into my bed and under the doona at bedtime.
This bionic feat was motivated by the paralysing fear of a gnarly hand emerging from underneath my bed to drag me straight to hell.
To this day, I still lock all the doors when the old man is away and take my phone to bed, because obviously I’ll have loads of time to phone the police as the murderer wields an axe above my head in the wee hours of the morning.
‘Jaws’ terrified me too. I still hear THAT music whenever I dip more than a toe into the ocean.
I’m not entirely sure if my problem stems from an over-active and very fertile imagination or from anxiety.
The other fear I’ve been experiencing this week is the fear of our next parenting tactic vis a vis our son. Because in spite of our best endeavours as parents, big changes need to be made in our approach to his behaviour, that don’t sit entirely comfortably with me.
Imagine the pain new mothers feel when they are forced to tackle the ‘controlled crying technique’ with their newborns, then amplify their pain one hundred fold and play Justin Bieber over and over again and you might get some ideal of how torturous these changes will be for me to instigate.
I think they call it ‘tough love’ in the States.
All along I’ve wanted to save my son, but I realize now that I can’t do it by myself – he actually needs to want to be saved.
It’s a sad truism that there isn’t always light at the end of this parenting malarkey and sometimes you bang smack into a wall and have to find other ways to deal with the concussion.
The thing about fear though, is that often once you confront it, you realize just how misguided you’ve been all along. I’m hoping that’s what happens this time and we all live happily every after like The Waltons did.
I DID watch most of Godzilla, albeit through my fingers, and its whole premise seemed quite ridiculous to me now. I’m proud to say that the only time I jumped, (accompanied by pathetic girlie screech) during the entire movie was when Kurt tapped me on the shoulder to ask for some popcorn.
That’s not to say that I could watch Jane Eyre even now, knowing that crazy Mrs Rochester will come down from that attic at some point and set fire to the house, or even De Niro in Cape Fear, but I realize that fear is something we create in our minds and it isn’t always rational.
Sometimes we have to rely on our instincts more to overcome our fears. Perhaps it’s time to trust that my son will come through this period, even if to do that I have to take away the scaffolding for him to allow him to make his own mistakes, face my fears and let him go.