Monday, July 13, 2015
#Microblog Mondays: Handling Fear With(out) Freaking Out
Once you have children, or are frequently around children, you kind of lose your ability to be freak-out scared, outwardly at least...you have to show them what it looks like to be brave. My mom was terrified of spiders (still is), but she had to be the brave, nonchalant Spider Remover/Killer with me and my sisters (although if it dropped unexpectedly, we still got the screechy Spider Dance out of her). It's just what you're supposed to do to keep everyone from panicking; you have to show them that [insert phobia here] is no big deal. And as an ALMOST waiting parent (the book is with the social worker for preprint review... getting closer...), the time to be brave and handle fear with grace is coming soon for me. This weekend at a family event in Ohio, I got to test this out, twice.
Yesterday morning, before we left the hotel, Bryce and I went for a post-breakfast hike on the grounds of the lakeside resort where we were staying. We found a mowed grass trail in a meadow that had these funny white posts every so often, and decided to off-road it since it looked maintained, although it wasn't marked. About a half mile in, we noticed a black dog, maybe a large-breed puppy, bounding up the hill ahead of us and away from us. Then I thought it was a cat, or maybe even a chubby lamb. It turned around toward us, all playful-like, and resembled a baby llama. Then it bounded away and we figured we'd run into its owner later on the trail. A couple miles later, no dog/cat/lamb/llama, no owner, and we came to the realization that we were on an old abandoned golf course, where there were occasionally asphalt walkways for the carts and those white posts were the tee-off spots. I cautioned Bryce not to step in the dog poop that was on that weed-reclaimed asphalt. And he said... "Um, that's bear scat."
Both all of a sudden and in a moment that seemed to last ages, we both put two and two together.
Instead of reacting sanely, I started hysterically yelling "SAY IT'S DOG POOP! IT'S DOG POOP! SAY IT'S DOG POOP!!!" while whacking Bryce in the arm with open palms. Not my most graceful moment.
Because, what we'd seen was a bear cub. And where adorable bear cubs bound away all fuzzy and cuddly looking, fierce mama bears can be nearby thinking that the dumbass abandoned golf course hikers miles from any other humans are threatening her baby, and she could decide to, you know, EAT US.
We managed to get back to the trailhead without seeing the cub or his mama (or dad, gulp), but we did notice rather large amounts of bear scat. I can laugh about it now, because we DID NOT GET EATEN, but at the time my reaction was PANIC PANIC PANIC, which probably wouldn't have gone well with small children in tow. Although I think in that instance Bryce may have signaled me to the danger and then told our child that it WAS dog poop, a courtesy I kind of wish I'd had.
I fared better in the car on the way home. Meadows have bears, but they also have ticks, and one had been crawling up Bryce's leg when we were only a couple miles on our way back home to New York. We pulled over, he threw it out the window, and we did a quick tick-check (wood ticks, not deer ticks... so ugly little buggers but not Lyme-carrying).
Later, on the NYS thruway near Buffalo, I noticed a tick on my visor above the passenger seat (which is also OVER MY HEAD). I didn't smack Bryce in a panic, and I didn't scream or freak out... I watched it, and then Bryce suggested I get it in a water bottle and close it up because there was nowhere to stop and ticks are kind of indestructible. And I did, I very methodically placed the mouth of the bottle under the disgusting parasite and when it dropped in with an audible CLICK noise, I screwed that cap on incredibly tightly and felt kind of squeegy, but not panicky.
There's hope for me yet... although a tick wouldn't have eaten my face off.
Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!