Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sometime Things Change. Sometimes Thats Ok.

Our friend, Trudy tells a story about me when I was 3 years old running up a giant dirt pile at their house and then running back down, completely devoid of any fear. She says I was wearing a little pink dress. I am sure my brothers were also running up and down the hill, but in my version of the story I like to say that they were too scared so they just watched in awe as I ran up and down, up and down over and over again. I think I have been fearless all my life. Things that other little kids were scared to do, I would do with out batting an eye - like walking across the top of the monkey bars and climbing the football uprights to sit on the top. Pffftt the high diving board was a piece of cake at the ripe old age of seven. I distinctly remember walking to the edge with confidence and stepping off without even stopping to think about it. I was even younger than seven the first time I jumped off the cliffs at the lake. Maybe it was because I was the only girl with my three (at the time) brothers and the three Brown boys and I didn't want to look like a wimp. I don't know, but I know there are pictures of me standing on the lowest cliff getting ready to jump, then one of the me on the way down holding my nose and finally one of me splashing into the lake. I never had that healthy fear of water. I have jumped off 50 foot cliffs and swam with sharks. Hummel and I were practically eaten alive by sea lice while snorkeling in Thailand but that didn't make us get out. The summer I spent in New Brunswick, the hotel held a triathlon and the night before the race I was asked to swim for a team, so just to make sure I could do it, Sheila and I went to the ocean and I swam where I would have to for the race. Then I had to swim back - in the ocean, alone, at night. I didn't think about how stupid it was until after I did it, but whatever... I survived, didn't I?
My fearlessness does not only pertain to water. I can stand in front of hundreds, thousands if need be, of people and make a speech, written or impromptu without stammering through a single word or sweating a single bead of sweat. I am confident enough to talk to big-wig executives of companies (think back to my days at SMED) as though I am equal to them (which, of course I am, the only difference is they get paid more than me). I flew to Mexico alone when I was 17, to meet Cartwright, and even had to change planes in Dallas, a big feat for someone who had only been on one other trip before, with about 20 other kids and seven chaperons. I traveled across the country by myself at 19 years old, with very little money and no place to stay when I got there, on my way to a summer job. I don't know how my parents ever let me go. I am not even a little afraid of heights. Sky diving and bungee jumping sound exciting not terrifying and I will totally go zip lining through the jungle if I ever get the chance.
This sounds like me blowing a lot of smoke up my own ass, I know, but really I have a point. This is not to say I have NO fears - take a mouse for example. My fear is very real of those disgusting little beasts. I will run like a 5 year old runs from the boogy man if I see one. I am a little afraid of dark alleys at night, but I think that's just good sense. Then there's feelings of fear over things that haven't happened but could- like if something ever happened to any one in my family. In general though, I am not afraid of very many things. I guess this equates to confidence? (I don't know if that sentence even makes sense, but I think it sounds good so I am going to leave it.)
Turns out the road to fear is not only a metaphorical road, but also an actual dirt road. One that logging truck drivers and average drivers like us drive every day. I have officially crossed over - I am no longer the brave, confident person I use to be. I learned this today.
I had a feeling about 6 months ago that this was going to happen, but I denied it. Maizey and I were out and about doing errands. We were listening to a Stuart Mclean Story (The Vinyl Cafe) and I wanted to hear the end, so we went for a little drive to buy us some more time. It was winter, but it hadn't snowed in days and the roads were basically clear. We headed North out of town towards Mica Dam on a road I have driven countless times. We passed the Revelstoke Dam. We passed five mile boat launch. We were literally FIVE MILES away from town. I was all of a sudden gripped by an indescribable fear that there was going to be nowhere for us to turn around and we would have to drive all the way to Mica (about 140km's), but of course we didn't have enough gas, or food or water or blankets if we break down and what if it blizzards and my wind shield wipers stop working and what if Maizey needed to eat? I didn't have my breastfeeding do-hickey because we were just going downtown ohmyeffinggodwhatamigoingtodo??? I stopped in the middle of the road and made a seven million point turn, shaking uncontrollably the entire time and stalling several times in the process, but I did it. I got us turned around to be heading back to town, and the panic stopped. Just like that. Just as quickly as it had come. I drove back to town as though nothing had happened. I later told my mom. She told me I had gone soft. I ignored her.
Today, I realized -- I absolutely, without a doubt, have gone soft. We went for a little family drive this afternoon - spur of the moment with no destination in mind, no snacks packed or a call out to anyone to tell them where we would be, since it was undecided. We wound up south of town up the Akokelux Valley. An area we frequented when we were first together, for many a camping trip. This area is bush country - lots of logging, hunting, even a few trap lines still exist. There are water falls and rivers and lakes and logging roads galore. It is scenery beyond beautiful. You could go back in the mountains for miles and not run out of roads. Brian and I his buddies spent a lot of time out there when they were younger, 4x4ing, quadding, biking, camping -- you name it, they were doing it. There is a particular road that they all love to drive, commonly known as 'The Short Cut' its a ridiculously steep road that is not maintained in the least, as no logging truck would ever even attempt it. You are butted up to the mountain on one side and on the edge of the cliff on the other. I told Brian on the way out there that I was not interested in going down the hill - theres an easy way around it, yes it takes longer, but its safer. He agreed. We cruised along the 'Long Way'. Even on the safe road I could feel that feeling of panic start to creep in. I was watching the edge of the road to make sure it hadn't been washed away in the spring run off - thus causing us to be sucked down over the edge of the cliff and into the great beyond. I was squeezing my holy shit handle with every thing I had, while trying to be discreet - I didn't want to start a fight about how unsafe this was - but ohmyeffinggoditwassounsafeitscrazy. I was thinking the whole time - he should just let me drive, I am a way better driver than him, why isn't he slowing down, I should really be driving, just look at the pretty scenery Amy, stop being a baby. We finally made it to the road to The Akokelux Falls, where we wanted to get to, only to find a locked gate. Apparently the Falls are off limits now. After all that. We headed home (thank god), but this time Brian decided that there was no more Long Way around - we were fine and we were totally taking the Short Cut. I swallowed my fear, repeating over and over - he would not do something he thought was dangerous with us in the truck. I remembered back to the days when I would laugh the whole way up the hill and high five everyone at the top and most likely crack another beer. I played those days in my head - we were fine then, we would be fine now. Breathe Amy. We got to the bottom of the hill and I said a silent prayer. I cant remember going up, I think my eyes were open, I was hanging on to my arm rest and my door handle. I could hear the tires skidding then catching again, I was watching Brian skillfully maneuvering the huge heaves in the road, while staying safely away from the edge, I saw the truck tip over the top and I could feel my eyes start to sting. Then I started crying. Real tears. For no freaking reason. He stopped and said 'see? we're fine'. I had to laugh a little. I looked in the back to make sure Maizey was ok. She was asleep. See? We were fine.
I can thank Maizey for this change. I guess its a good thing to have fear now, so as not to get into unsafe situations and possible be in danger. I am trying to find something positive out of the whole me turning into a complete baby with no sense of excitement anymore thing. This is the best I can come up with. I know somethings wont change, I'm sure I'll still be able to make a speech no problem and the talking thing, well I'm pretty sure that's never going to change, but I may think twice about skydiving and bungee jumping. Maybe.


  1. That's natural I think...Amy. I'm the same way, it's worrying about your child's safety and your own, so you can be around to continue to protect them and teach them everything you want to teach them but haven't yet. That's my thought on it anyway.

  2. Having children changes your whole life. You guys always gave me a hard time because I could not bring myself to watch Travis bull ride. Now you know why! You just love them so much you can't bear to think of something happening to them, not as babies, not as teenagers and even not as adults. Welcome to parenthood Amy. Love you.... Mom

  3. Amy...I think that I have to agree with your Mom. Having babies changes how you look at life. I just went to the beach the other day with a friend and her kids. I was thinking back to when the beach was a carefree place to have tons of fun... then I became a mother... Now the beach is never ending worry... are all the kids ok... can I see all of them... what if they go in the lake and I dont see them... what if they get hurt, the hospital is 30 minutes away! As a Mom the beach is only fun because your children simle the entire time.I smile, take a deep breath and relax when we all get in the van safely to go home :) I don't think that you have become a baby you have just become a mother... and a good one at that:) (Just for the record I wish I had just a little of that fearlessness... even before I had kids I was a chicken!)