Monday, February 13, 2012

Manic Monday: Can Fun Conquer Fear?

Disney Dream Christening Fireworks Display
Joe Burbank, Orlando Sentinel

My nine-year-old daughter has two major fears: Flying in airplanes and being on boats. The fear of flying is so great in her, she trembles during takeoff, her face ashen with fear. She's a trooper and rises to the challenge, but it terrifies her so much that this year we thought "road trip." Sort of a "Griswold" family vacation, driving to California and seeing some of America's wonders. Not the thrilling adventure that I tend to enjoy, but hey, these are the types of sacrifices we make for our kids.

People who see my daughter and I together call her a "Mini Me." We look a lot a like and have many things in common. But I'm an adventurous person at heart. I'm no dare devil, but I tend to be more on the risk taking side of things. Summer vacation, to me, is foremost an opportunity to see new things. Go places I've never been. The more exotic the better. Oh, and if you can throw in warm water for snorkeling and white sand, I'm there.

I remember the first time I flew and remember loving it. The thrill of the take off - my heart pounding and the excitement of seeing the big old Earth become so wee that you can't even make out houses or cars or even skyscrapers. I still enjoy takeoff and would love flying still if it weren't for the fact that airport security, wait times, scanners and surliness have made flying pretty much suck.

But alas my "Mini Me" hates heights, is terrified of take off, and would rather ride in her van for 14 hours with her parents than get in a plane. 

So it was to my utmost surprise when she said she wanted to go on a Disney Cruise this summer.

"You want to ride for days on a boat?!"

She looked it up on the Internet. She pointed to the commercials on T.V.

"You do realize we would have to fly for a long time just to get to Florida then get on a boat where you'll be for days?"

"That's true," she said with a look of disappointment and worry shadowing her face.

I could see the desire. A mad desire welling in her like I've not seen except for in the month of December when she's beside herself with anticipation for her favorite day of the year.

"Why do you want to go?"

"I don't know mom. It's just calling to me. I feel like I'm meant to go."

Magical words to a mom who believes in fate and serendipity. How can I deny her opportunity to meet up with destiny?

We watched videos about cruising. Read the brochures. Talked about what it would be like. A few days later she said,

"I can do this."

"You want to go?"

"I want to go so bad I'm even willing to fly!"

I saw the steely determination in her eyes lit with the joy of expectation. The call of adventure has lit a fire in her. The desire for fun, overcoming the obstacle of her fear.

Bon Voyage my little one.

Have you ever overcome a fear? How did you do it? Are there any fears that you have that paralyze you or prevent you from doing something that you want to do?

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