When I climb into the car with him and patiently and kindly give him driving instructions I feel very brave. But then we start around a curve and this irrational fear that he won't turn the wheel, that he'll just keep going right into the trees, overcomes me and causes me to grip the door handle. But then the moment passes and I'm under control again.
Upon reflection I realized this experience is just one example of the conflicts within a mother.
I've had moments of fear from my very first day as a mother. When I brought my oldest son home from the hospital I was afraid I wouldn't do everything just right; when he started getting older I was still afraid I wouldn't do everything just right; and now that he is older I know I don't do everything just right.
But then there are the times when there is no fear -- when the mother in me kicks in and I know exactly what to do. When I know the right moment to be stern, when to give a hug instead of harsh words, and when I look at my children and know that I've been a good mother.
But then those trees loom up ahead and I'm not sure we'll make the curve. Fear rises in my throat, but I hide it by discreetly gripping the door handle.
Never let 'em see you sweat. That's my motto. Children can sense your weakness. So instead of screaming, "Look out!" I very calmly say, "Now we're coming upon a curve. You need to slow down and start making the turn."
There's no doubt about it, raising children is sometimes a bumpy ride. But it is definitely worth the journey even if it does throw you a few curves now and then.