Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I've never been afraid of much. I love heights and falling and flying; I consider spiders to be good luck; I can speak in front of large groups without having to picture anyone naked. Because of this, my transition into motherhood has been particularly strange. Suddenly, there's so much to fear: choking, drowning, kidnapping, sure, but then there's even more. Am I kissing her too much? Not enough? Feeding her too much? Not enough? Is all this crazy singing making her happy or scarring her for life? Does she feel pressured to learn the alphabet? Should I not have flicked the Roly Poly away? A couple of nights ago, I tried to watch an episode of Law & Order but had to stop after ten minutes because I got so scared that something would happen to her, that she'd be dealing pot at 14, that the creepy neighbor would "help" her, that she'd never even make it to 14 because the video monitor was broken and delivering an old "sleeping" picture while she was actually upstairs sprawled on the floor because she had climbed out of her crib. I guess I'm wondering what to do with all this fear, wondering if it goes away or becomes half-remembered or if--and I, uhm, fear this might be the case--I should get used to plucking all these grays.


kate said...

when it comes to fear, i push my mind to its outer reaches. i imagine the worst possible scenario as if doing so will prepare me for any harm that might befall harper. i think neruda says it best:

I Like For You to be Still

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent, and you hear me from far away and my voice does not touch you. It seems as though your eyes had flown away and it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth.

As all things are filled with my soul you emerge from the things, filled with my soul. You are like my soul, a butterfly of dream, and you are like the word Melancholy.

I like for you to be still, and you seem far away.
It sounds as though you were lamenting, a butterfly cooing like a dove. And you hear me from far away, and my voice does not reach you: Let me come to be still in your silence.

And let me talk to you with your silence that is bright as a lamp, simple as a ring. You are like the night, with its stillness and constellations. Your silence is that of a star, as remote and candid.

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent, distant and full of sorrow as though you had died. One word then, one smile, is enough.
And I am happy, happy that it΄s not true.

Richard Hefner said...

You come by the fear honestly... it's a genetic gift from dear old Dad, whose theme song is "Worried Man Blues" and who gets more cautious as the years go by.

The gray hair is also a gift from me. I wouldn't be plucking it out -- gray hair is better than none at all. You might want to color instead of pluck... looks better.