Avey prides herself in being “brave of scary things”. This sometimes comes to an interesting conflict with her love of everything. Conquering fear of something, although in the same direction, is not exactly loving something – at least not immediately. For example, Avey found a snail shell stuck on the wall near her great grandmother’s front door. She instinctively fell in love with the snail and asked if she could keep it. I saw no harm in it (except maybe for the snail), so we brought it along. She decided to name it Slimy, and set it on a little shelf in my dashboard, directly in front of her car seat so that she could keep an eye on it. I drove on, paying attention to traffic, when I was surprised by the shrieks of panic from Avey’s side of the car. I looked over, and my daughter was screaming bloody murder. She was absolutely terrified. I quickly deduced the cause of her horror when I saw something like this staring at her from the dashboard:
Slimy had come out of his shell to see what was going on. I have never seen my daughter so shaken. If she could have gotten loose of her seat belt, I’m sure she would have jumped out of the moving vehicle to take her chances with the pavement and moving traffic.
I tried reassuring her that Slimy could not hurt her, and that it would probably take a snail a whole day to even get to her. My attempts to comfort were like casting seed on concrete. The only solution I could see was to pull over and give Slimy a new place to live before we got home. I suggested such to Avey, who I thought would surely jump at the chance to be rid of her new found tormentor. To my surprise, she hesitated. She told me how she still wanted to keep the snail, even though she was scared of it. She explained that if we could just get it into her bug jar at home, she would endure his existence. We pressed forward, and safely contained Slimy in its prison, where it’s been ever since. Avey’s certainly less paralyzed by fear now that it’s in the jar, although she still checks it out from across the room.
Avey also had a shot earlier this week, and understandably suffered some trepidation about it. After bearing it successfully, she told me about how there were two kinds of brave; the first is where one has no fear of the stimulus, and the other is where one is afraid, but does what must be done anyway. How right she is.
When I got her to dance class, however, some of the others noticed her bandage and asked about her shot. She explained the situation to them less eloquently, saying, “I was the scared kind of brave.”
At least she has great insight.