I wrote this in 2007, in what feels like a different life. At the time, my kids were 7 and 3. I didn't know it at the time, but we were at the beginning of a three-year period of extreme difficulty for my family. I was about to get familiar with fear in a very personal way.
We came through those years, and my family is stronger and happier than ever. But today's news of the tragic school shooting in Connecticut has brought back the feeling I think we all share: our awareness of our extreme vulnerability as parents.
My heartfelt sympathy goes out to those affected by this horrible act. In a way, we're all affected. I think it's important to acknowledge that. — Asha
Arianna Huffington's recent book, On Becoming Fearless…In Love, Work, and Life, is now out in paperback. To commemorate the occasion, Mother Talk is hosting "Fearless Friday," and I'm happy to participate.
I never really knew fear until I became a mother. Frankly, till then, everything had been pretty easy. I've been blessed with any number of factors that made my life what it is: loving parents, adequate food and water, a secure home, a healthy, functional body, a predisposition toward optimism…the list goes on. Life has had its share of bumps and switchbacks, but nothing that made me question my place on the road, or my ability to travel it.
Then my son arrived.
I've written plenty about my difficult transition to motherhood and I won't repeat it here. Suffice it to say the bumps grew into mountains, and I had to learn to climb.
But the relative ease or difficulty of my transition is beside the point. The fear I've felt since becoming a mother has everything to do with my elemental love for my children. I've described this love as "intense, almost crippling," and I don't think that's hyperbole. When the stakes are so high, the world's randomness ceases to be theoretically interesting. It's cause for terror. The tragedies that befall "other people" don't seem as remote as they once did.
Fear now has a permanent spot at my table. I can't tell you I've conquered it, or overcome it, or even minimized it. My triumph is that I've learned to live with it. I've learned to accept it. In some small way, I've learned to embrace it, as it has shown me what I share with other parents throughout the world, throughout history.
The United Way has also set up a Sandy Hook Support Fund.