I opened a fortune cookie several years ago that read, "The opposite of fear is love." I have pondered this fortune often over the years, applying it to several situations in an effort to better understand the actions and words of others. Nine times out of ten, I agree with this statement. I have accepted that people act and speak in ways that hurt others because they fear any multitude of things. I used to think the opposite of love was hate but isn't hate really based on fear?
This fortune holds a different meaning for me this week. This week I fear because I love. My children are vacationing in England with their father and stepmother. They fly home soon. Given the international events of the past week, how can I not worry? Hearing about a bombing at an airport in Istanbul doesn't make me too eager to have my children at a major international airport, even if it means they are coming home. I know they are safe with their father. I trust he will protect them and keep them safe at all costs. But I also know that this kind of thing isn't something one can prevent, avoid or protect from.
So then I ask myself, "Is this a realistic fear?" I wonder that often. What is considered a reasonable, realistic fear when it comes to being a mother? I remember when my son was in the early years of riding his bike around our small neighborhood. The only traffic on our road is that of people who live here. It is a dead-end street and everyone who lives here knows that children are out and about so they drive cautiously. I appreciate this tremendously. Still, in those first years when I walked or rode with him I would feel a pit of panic in my stomach as he rode closer to a corner. Would an oncoming car see him in time? Would he pull off the road and stop like he was taught? I choked back a scream that held his name every time we approached a corner. I didn't want to startle him or impose my worries on him. But really, how does a mother not worry...All. The. Time?
Worry. Fear. I know they are very different, perhaps at different points on a spectrum. I worry that the bus will forget to drop off my daughter at the end of the school day. I worry that my children will be hurt or injured and I won't be there to comfort them. I fear outliving my children. So is this airport issue a worry or a fear? All I know is that I cannot wait for my babies to be safe and sound at home.