Today I did something I never thought I’d do. Something I’ve always had a huge fear of. The thought of it always made me feel panicked.
I took my son to the park. Alone.
Today I’m really proud of myself. Today I faced a long lasting fear of mine.
To most, the above will sound ridiculous and oh so dramatic. I can totally understand why. To the others that also suffer with anxiety or that have followed my journey, you’ll understand what a huge deal it is to tackle hurdles. It was even bigger than me taking on Westfield alone. Westfield was about my belief that I’d be unable to cope if Arjun cried so about something I had control of – my actions. My fear around going to parks is about something I can’t control – scary people.
It was quite random actually. I was on my way to collect Arjun from nursery, shades on, the sun was beaming, Kiss FM was blaring, I was in a happy place. A happy place always makes me a little braver. The thought crossed my mind.
I didn’t have Arjun’s change bag on me, that meant no nappies and no water.
That would make me a bad mum right?
Would there be more creepers out today as the days are longer?
What if he didn’t hold my hand?
What if he ran off?
I quickly stopped myself and made the decision I was going to take him based on his mood.
I picked him up and he was in great mood. I got to have one of those moments where he was oblivious to my presence and carried on playing in his make believe innocent little world. I always find it so precious and endearing watching his imagination flow. He was playing with a Peppa Pig plush and a trolley. They seemed to be on some sort of mission … Before I could figure out what that mission was, he caught me. He came rushing over and embraced me.
We got in the car and he asked me to put the window down – He was also aware of what a beautiful day it was today. He loves being outdoors. Today was my chance to have one on one time with him in his element. I was feeling brave much to my amazement.
The park is 5 minutes from home and I did consider going back to get his change bag when I pulled up behind the ice cream van outside the park. I stopped myself. I knew I’d put myself off coming back.
We were going to do this. We were going to get ice cream, sit in the sun and play on the swings and slides like “normal” people.
So what if I didn’t have his change bag … He’d just had his nappy changed at nursery.
So what if I didn’t have wipes … I’d use his hoody and a bottle of water that was lying around in the car to wipe his hands and ice cream face.
So what if I didn’t have water … I could buy it off the ice cream man if we needed it.
To answer myself back like I did above was a huge mini break through for me. I’m really good at talking myself out of uncomfortable situations.
I took my jumper off – I knew I’d be running around after him and I’d get far too hot. Plus lots of layers flusters me more!!
I could see it was packed. This made me feel calmer in one sense as it meant it was hopefully safer but on the other hand I panicked about Arjun having a mini melt down with an audience.
It was too late now anyway.
45 minutes passed by so quick. We had such a blast – all the other mummies there were so friendly and patient. Arjun was on his best behaviour – it was almost like he knew how scary it was for me to take him there alone. I turned in to a big kid with him. We played peekaboo in the tunnel, I went on the slide with him, we squealed on the swings together. It felt like he understood my fears – I’ve said it before. He seems so much more patient during my most fearful times.
It was such an amazingly pleasant experience. Something so simple has made me feel so proud. I hope he enjoyed our time as much as I did. Watching him play with such confidence and being oblivious to my fears made me feel stronger.
I hope I pluck up the courage to go again soon. Despite the risk of potential weirdos, normal good people go to the park too. While I was there, I didn’t even think about my fears and anxieties, I was so wrapped up in being in the moment with my little blessing. I had so much fun and I’m so glad we did it so spontaneously. It also enabled Arjun to see a different side to me – one that he’s not been exposed to one on one. How weird is it that he’s almost two and we’ve never been to the park alone?
Thank you my beautiful boy, for continuing to be my teeny tiny but biggest pillar of confidence and support. I love you so so much. I am so thankful to God for blessing me with him – he continues to make me challenge myself and to become a better person in different ways.