When Ryan was little, she was fearless. Fearless. Nothing at all fazed her. I was amazed at her bravery... until I realized that she didn't know she had reason to fear. She was safe and loved and protected... she knew that if she ventured farther than her comfort zone, she always had my arms to come back to, and that made everything OK.
But things changed during our first visit to Disney. She was four... and she was so excited to go. For weeks, she spoke of nothing but the teacup ride in the Magic Kingdom. But while we were standing in line, she spotted Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee at the ride's exit...
And her first real fear was realized.
She wigged. Completely. She would have nothing to do with the teacup ride... or with any other ride or part of the park at which there were big costumed characters present. And if you've ever been to Disney, you know they are everywhere.
The Magic Kingdom? Yeah. Not so magical.
I couldn't understand it. I explained they were just people in costumes. I told her they wouldn't come near her if she didn't want them to. I promised to punch anyone who touched her (I was getting desperate).
Nope. Not good enough. For the first time since she was born, I could not make a bad situation better.
I could not assuage the fear.
And I didn't know how to handle that. And it made me... mad.
Looking back on that trip, I feel terrible that I lost my patience with her. I didn't know how to handle a fear I knew she simply needed to face to get over. And I didn't know how to handle the fact that I could not make it better. I felt helpless.
Today, I had my regular appointment with my oncologist at the cancer center.
And I realized that the hospital is my (not so) Magic(al) Kingdom.
My oncologist? The cancer center?
My Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.
I know they're there to help me. I do.
But I can't assuage the fear. And I don't know how to handle that. And it makes me mad.
And the thing is? I face it... because I have to. But facing this fear isn't making it better.
I have to hope that it will... in time.
I won't be four-years-old forever, after all.