We all have fears and phobias and the last thing we want to do is pass them down to our children. Some are afraid of arachnids, or bugs in general, some of heights and more and more people are afraid of germs.
I have witnessed people go to great lengths to kill and destroy every kind of bug; from wipes to hand sanitiser, disinfectant sprays and in my mothers case; bleach. Profuse amounts of bleach that made a hospital smell of roses in comparison.
I’m not particularly keen on heights, I feel a certain pull and I get dizzy. I was once vocal about it but since having kids I don’t say anything and I try not to mention it, I just don’t look down.
The thing that scares me the most are loud bangs.
When a vehicle goes over a bottle with a lid still on; that kind of bang.
I’ve been known to duck for cover.
There’s a reason behind this, brought on from my childhood.
In 1986, I believe it was (I’m showing my age here), the Libyan capital was attacked. The bombs from the planes lit the sky light meteorites, the noise was horrendous and the panic and screams on the streets of my neighbourhood is something that will remain with me until the day I die. Building collapsed on whole families, lives destroyed.
I remember being in my dads arms, he had carried me out of the house. I was asleep and the cold air had woken me. I looked up and saw red fire balls falling from the sky and when I asked my dad what it was he replied ‘it’s a new kind of rain.’ Calm, serious with a little smile on his face.
It’s only when I heard the people around me and the noise those things were making that I realised what it was.
My dad decided to be a hero and started running round the neighbourhood clearing people out of debris, running into houses. Leaving me and my mum outside our house. When I next spotted him I followed him into the front patio of a neighbours house.
Lying on the ground was someone we knew as a family friend, blood on her face, my father holding her head up whilst she relayed her final wishes to him. She closed her eyes, just like in the movies….
There are things I saw that no child should ever witness.
He saw me, picked me up, covered my face and ran to the car, the roof of the drivers side had buckled from debris falling on top of it and to this day I still laugh at seeing my father, 6’2″ bent forwards and sideways driving that thing to my grandmother’s house a few miles away.
The household was pitch black and everyone was hiding in the outhouse, my grandmother, my two younger aunts, an uncle a couple of years older than me, my dads older brother, wife and two kids and my parents and me.
The talk and panic from my family members confirmed my suspicions that the country was under attack.
My cousin, she must have been one, started crying. My aunt hadn’t brought any of the bottles, nappies and things needed for the baby. She got up and dashed for the house before anyone could stop her.
For the first time in my life, time stood still.
When she returned, out of breath, I thought an argument was going to ensue, instead there was a collective sigh of relief. My uncle was seething and before he could do anything rash, my father took control of the situation.
“That was stupid.” Were the first words out of his mouth. “Next time we get bombed make sure you’re better organised.”
In an instant the atmosphere softened, nervous laughter turned into amusement. My grandmother wacked him on the back of the head. “Only you could make a joke of this.”
A few days later we went to a camper-van site in the middle of the desert where we spent a long time ‘in hiding’, as my mother called it.
I could hear the sound of bombs blasting and bullets shooting in the distance, and every time, I’d hide in fear.
My parents would smile and tell me that the fighting was far away and we were safe.
That’s how I developed my fear of loud bangs.
My partner, on the other hand, is afraid of spiders I have no aversion to bugs, considering that one of my friends in Malta had a pet tarantula that I used to play with. I lived in hot countries where cockroaches and lizards were part of everyday life.
My partner is making a conscious effort of not showing her fear to the kids, however they do have an aversion to them. Every time one comes into the house, they are jumping up on the sofa, running out of the room, anything short of climbing the walls themselves.
They calm down once I’ve removed it or it’s ran away.
Daddy long legs are the worse, my third and fourth went through a period of calling them flying spiders. We managed to get the elder two to ignore them by showing them that all those things did was fly around bumping into things. They became a joke and now we are all working to make the younger children see them same way and alsoto help them realise that those little creatures are harmless. Hopefully, in time they won’t worry about them anymore.
So, for the time being, I don’t mind indulging in these little phobias as long as they don’t have to experience anything like I did at their tender age.