The Scariest Thing I’ve Ever Done
What’s the scariest, most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?
I heard this question asked recently in a TED talk by Chris Hadfield, an astronaut that experienced a moment of blindness while on a spacewalk. Okay, so many of us have never experienced that level of risk. Floating weightless in a sea of black, with nothing but a spacesuit separating you from suffocation is beyond the scope of the average experience. However, we all HAVE experienced risk. We’ve all experienced intense moments of fear; moments when the stakes were high and our confidence was low.
So what was that moment for you? Can you imagine it? Can you feel the rush of your heart, the sweat beading up on your skin, your eyes moving out of focus as you try to maintain your equilibrium?
As I pondered this question, I was immediately transported to a specific experience. The year was 1997. It happened at approximately 9 AM at home in my bedroom. I had been away for a few days and returned with a little visitor. She was this tiny little person, unlike any I had seen before. She had lots of curly hair and red checks that looked like they were full of cotton balls. She slept all the time, and despite urges from her doctor; slumber was her preferred activity. I remember laying her on the bed one morning and just crying. Now, this wasn’t the misty eye type. Naw, this was a big, unbridled, ugly cry. The kind that leaves you making sounds that are a cross between hyperventilation and hiccups.
With a crazy mix of love, fear, overwhelm, exhilaration and a dose of post-partum; it hit me. I was a mother, a parent, a forever caregiver.
In that moment, I knew my life was changed.
I realized the rules hadn’t changed; the game did. This little baby warranted everything I had to give…with no guarantees. I could nurse her, and she could still get allergies. I could create a stimulating environment and walking could still not come till 14 months old (yep, I looked like I was carrying a toddler around). I could pick a home in the neighborhood with the best schools and she could still face ridicule. I could make my very best effort, work as hard as I could, be positive, intentional, prayerful, selfless, loving, empathetic…and she still had choices. It was the greatest risk I’d ever take.
So the scariest, most dangerous think I’ve ever done? Hands down, it’s choosing to love a child. To give every ounce of yourself, with no guaranteed return on your investment. To willingly, thankfully, gracefully (sometimes), love wholeheartedly; risking and embracing disappointments with the full knowledge that you can never be all that you want to be, and your child is exactly who they are meant to be despite our expectations.
So, how about you? What’s the scariest, most dangerous thing you’ve ever done? Send me your stories. I’d love to hear from you.