I am ashamed of my thoughts. My daughter was afraid and all I could think about were my fears.
The day started as most have the last few years. Happiness. Love expressed throughout our family. But this day was special. It was a family day. Mommy, Daddy, and Camilla were all about spending time together and having fun. The weather was good, so we decided to venture to our local playground. Camilla was scooting and having a blast. We went to the bigger kids section of the playground, and watched our daughter not only play with some new friends but run, climb, and slide all over that place. You know, it is a joy to behold. Then, it happened. She saw flies on the slide. All of a sudden, she was frozen in fear at the top of slide, clutching the pole. We thought she had been injured, but my sweet, fun loving daughter was afraid. She did not want to slide because of these flies. After securing her safety, we began to speak with her about her fear. We explained that these flies were much more afraid of her due to her size. However, Camilla was not budging. We wanted her to attempt to conquer this fear, otherwise it was going to be a long summer. Playdates, summer concerts, and the joys of the track and turf we frequent might be on hold. We asked her if it looked as if the other children were afraid of flies. She said no. We could tell we made progress with that comment. She was clearly beginning to process and use logic. My wife said to not let those flies take away your fun. This comment definitely helped, because she was willing to walk back to the slide. At this moment, I decided to share a fear that I had. I told Camilla that I am very much fearful of bees. I asked her if she could tell that when we have encountered bees. She said no. I explained that you can still have fun and be yourself and have fears. Thankfully, our discussions with Camilla led her to decide to try the slide again. And enjoy her time outside. Crisis averted. For now.
But, I am not pleased with my thoughts. I shamefully began to think about what this meant for me and not her when she initially expressed her fear. I started to feel embarrassed. I did not immediately think about how to aid my daughter. I am not entirely sure why this was the case. This is certainly not the way I have approached my marriage and my parenting. I have been a much more selfless person since I met my wife. Perhaps I had an Okonkwo moment. The character from Things Fall Apart puts an unfair amount of pressure on his children based on his disappointing relationship with his father. I know all too well about disappointing relationships with a father. Perhaps it is impossible not to deal with your personal baggage as a parent. I believe now that my challenge is not to let this baggage handcuff me. I can have expectations of her, but they must be fair and realistic. I need to provide support when she needs it. I need to show her my humanity.
For my thoughts, I remain ashamed. But, I promise this much. I will put aside my fears the next time she is fearful. I'm putting her needs way ahead of what someone else might think of my daughter.
I will continue to aid Camilla's development into the best Camilla she can be. I can live with that.