Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Off to the big city

I am leaving on a jet plane tomorrow morning, not to return until Saturday evening. I am most decidedly not looking forward to being away from my family for that long, but at the moment the repetitive nature of the clanging noises issuing from the television set in the next room do make the prospect of 3 nights in a quiet apartment more appetizing. Did I mention that I have not yet gotten to play the Wii since it arrived on our doorstep right after Christmas?

I have packed my bags. Printed my boarding passes. Placed my ridiculously small shampoo bottles into the appropriately sized ziploc bag. Spent quality time painting toenails and reading stories with the Kraken. I am ready to go. Now, if only I could face my fear.

I know it's completely ridiculous to be afraid to go to NYC. I lived in London for a year, Chicago for a summer, and I happily tromp around Seattle whenever I head Westside to visit the parents. I have spent my fair share of time in cities. But never New York. And very little of this city time have I spent since I became a mother, and truly knew fear for the first time in my life.

There are a handful of women who read this blog (and some lurkers, you know who you are) who remember my younger, wilder self. Who watched me move to foreign countries and stalk the streets alone at night. Part of my fearlessness came from a completely misguided perception of my own "scariness". Who would try to mug the creepy looking chick with the leather jacket and the skull buckle boots, after all? But most of it was, in retrospect, what I didn't have to lose.

Oh sure. I liked my life well enough. I loved my friends. I loved my family. I didn't have a death wish. But the idea of my own mortality seemed distant, unrealistic. And my mother's constant worrying about the choices I made was stifling, unnecessary, and neurotic.

Now that I have a child of my own, I understand my mother better. And I also wonder why she never just slapped the shit out of me. I'm fairly certain I would have. I still sometimes think she worries unnecessarily, that her own mother's fears bled into her psyche with the laundry detergent. And that sometimes I worry unnecessarily for the same reason. But the stakes are so high, aren't they? To even ponder momentarily the idea of not getting to watch her grow up is enough to make my hands shake. Worse still is the idea of her grief at the loss of me. It strikes me as so strange that my fear is not personal, even when it's fear of my own death or injury.

I'm afraid to go to New York. It's irrational. It's paranoid. It's informed by ridiculous television shows. But I am somebody's whole world now, and rationality has got nothing to do with it.

1 comment:

Devilish Southern Belle said...

I can understand what you're feeling, especially with the Kraken at the age she's at. I do hope you'll be able to enjoy your visit to the city, though.