Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Resident evil

Resident evil
30 January 2013

There’s a monster under my bed and the boogie man lives in my closet.  His beady eyes watch me at night.  He tries to torment me and makes a grab for my legs whenever I walk past.

Actually, I’ve befriended him and his name is Roger. 

On a serious note though, I suppose we all have big fears.  Some are more tangible and easy to avoid.  Thanks to the movie Jaws, I’m absolutely petrified of sharks, and therefore almost never swim in the sea.  So avoiding sharks at least, is pretty easy to do.  They don’t come on land and so the sharks and I have a pretty good understanding.  I don’t mess on their playground, the sea, and they don’t mess on mine – land.  Hardly a difficult compromise to reach.  When we go to the aquarium, which isn’t all that often, I don’t even have a peep at the shark tank – they’re just too creepy.  Though at the same time, it makes me rather sad that they’re stuck in a glorified fish bowl, for us to gawk at them.  They really should be free.

But my fear of sharks, is but nothing, compared to the mind numbing terror I feel at the mere mention of snakes.  Never liked them.  Never will.  I can’t even look at pictures of them – ridiculous I know.  I’m an adult after all.  And when they’re on TV, I just look away.  My family all know about my fear, and hence they warn me whenever there’s a snake image on TV – watching them slither about is just too much for me.  And inevitably, once I’ve accidently seen one of those awful limbless reptiles on TV, I’ll have a horrid dream about them that very same night.  The only bad dream I can ever remember from my childhood was of being at Cloetenberg and seeing a snake in the garden.  I ran inside and slammed the back door to the garden shut.  But that blasted slithering snake managed to squeeze itself through the keyhole right in front of me.  Mercifully I always woke up at this point.  And given my snake phobia, watching Survivor (one of my favourite programmes) on TV is a real challenge.  Everyone is on high alert to warn me less I suffer from any inadvertent serpent sightings.

However, sharks and snakes aside there are some things I fear even more.  The loss of one of my children is something I don’t even want to think about.  I worry when they are away from me.  Not that I’m all that good at keeping them safe, I suppose.  I know that I have to let them go.  Sometimes they literally have to bump their own heads – Cole will bump his often.  He leaps before he looks.  I worry when they’re on long car journeys.  That they’ll be knocked off the rocks at Kleinbaai and be swept into the sea.  When they’re crossing the road and I’m not with them.  Intellectually, I know that I’m being ridiculous.  Pathetic even.  I can’t cosset them and wrap them up in cotton wool.  And I don’t do it.  I promise I don’t.  But it doesn’t stop the worrying.  I suspect it’s part of being a parent.  That it’s like an invisible cloak you wear all the time.  Sometimes it just presses down on you more heavily.

Teenagers are not known for their caution, and this is all coming up the ladder for me.  Luke is turning fifteen in just over two weeks.  Already he is saying that it would be awesome to have a motorbike to scoot around in and that he would be eligible for one, once he’s turned sixteen.  Over.  My.  Dead.  Body.  Is he friggin nuts???  Him!  On a motorbike!  Perish the thought.  For one, we couldn’t afford it and secondly, I would be a nervous wreck each time he took to the road.  About three years ago a pupil at his school died when she got knocked off her scooter, waiting at the robot two blocks from our home.  She didn’t do anything wrong.  She was stationary at the time and got side swiped by a prison escort truck.

A few years from now, he’ll be wanting to drive.  Going to parties, driving with others in a car.  What if they’re drunk?  Everyone takes chances.  For now, I’m sowing the seeds, “you can phone me any time of the night or day and I will fetch you”.  I won’t be angry.  You can wake me up and I’ll come and get you.  I’ll be the fetching parent, I really don’t mind.  And if you’re the designated driver and you’ve had too much?  Rather just phone and I’ll fetch everyone else too.

Fast forward a few more years, and Amber will be the one out and about.  Jolling always seems to happen in Stellenbosch, meaning a long-ish drive on the treacherous R44 at night.  Eeekkk!  And then in the blink of an eye, Cole will be wanting to join the fray too.  For that one I’ll be needing nerves of steel.  And reinforced steel at that.

I suspect that the parental anguish gets easier.  I know my Mom still worries about all three of her sprogs and their sproglets too.  But I suppose there really does come a time, when the anxiety lessens, if not goes away completely.  That is too much to ask for and is part of the package when you acquire a kid.  It’s not just cuddles, kisses, schooling, feeding them, educating them, homework, sport, etc.  Life is not that neat.  You can’t have it all.  Maybe the worry is the bit that makes us good parents, appreciate our kids, cherish them and value the time we have with them.

I still think it sucks though.  The monster under the bed and the boogie man have nothing over my biggest fear.  In fact, move over sharks and snakes, Freddie Kruger and Chucky too.

Personally, I’d rather be stuck with Roger, his beady eyes and groping hands, any day of the week.  Bring it on big boy…

This really made me laugh - can't you just picture John Travolta doing the whole pointy finger thing?

You DON'T want to mess with Chuck...

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