Two years ago, my family and I spent the 4th of July weekend in Kansas City with my brother. You may remember reading the post, or hearing my retelling 400 times, but the visit was not without incident. At Deanna Rose Farmstead (a lovely place to visit, to which I will never return), Will fell off the dock into the fishing pond, and scarred me for life. However, I am proud to say that my return this weekend showed me just how much we've both grown.
This 4th of July, we went back to Kansas City and did all the things there is to do in that fantastic town. Science was done in Science City, dinosaurs were built and watched at T-Rex, and despite my frequent panic attacks, my family attended RiverFest.
Now, I realize that a normal person only fears the great unwashed when attending a fest like this one, but I am far from normal (insert joke here). Instead, I am afraid. I am terrified of Will going anywhere near scary water. My definition of scary water is... any dark, murky water with any sort of current that could sweep my son away to a watery death. So, pools... no problem. There isn't a swimming pool around (except maybe the one in Massachusetts where the lady drowned and the water was so cloudy her body bloated on the bottom for three days before anyone found her) that I can't get my boys out of. I am a strong swimmer and am confident that I can rescue them out of a clear pool, but what about a river? An ocean? A lake where they sink to the depths that we can't dive down to? That thought has kept me up nights when things like cruises, or RiverFests are mentioned in my presence. And this fest was no different.
The drive out to the river made me physically sick. I had barely slept the night before for all the images of my boys falling into the swift current and being swept away. I was nauseous, my heart pounding, my mind racing with panic. But, we went. I repeated 100 times to my family that the boys couldn't go near the river and forced the boys to hold someones hand when they walked through the fest even though the riverbank was 40 feet away. But, I went. I can't say I enjoyed the fest, as I was completely consumed with the single thought of "KEEP THEM AWAY" replaying on a constant loop in my brain... but, I went.
As I sit here, back at home today, and reflect on the weekend... I realize that Will and I have both come a long way since that trip to the bottom of the fishing pond at Deanna Rose Farmstead. He can now paddle along in a deep end (with adult supervision) and has turned into quite the water baby. No fear of water developed for him. And I can now walk along a river walk with my boys and even though I am not yet calm, I can be there. I went. A fear that came into being in Kansas City two years ago, was met in Kansas City again this year, and while I am sure it will stay with me forever... it may have gotten just a little bit smaller this weekend. And that, for me, is a bigger feat than even Will's giant, dynamite cannonball jump.