By Sky Sanchez-Fischer
Sitting down for a sunny Monday start; complete with maple brown sugar oatmeal and a healthy serving of homework procrastination to start out the week right; my preschooler and I pulled out the story of Dog and Bear. Those two little rascals had us in stitches, well, mostly her, but me enjoying the laughter of my youngest and the sheer excitement of her slurping up a bowl of literary bliss. Books and kids will do that to you, if you let them.
As I went through each story, I found myself learning some very valuable lessons. Yes, I am now taking encouragement from paper animals bound in cardboard and plastic covering. But really, what has changed? In the first story, Dog is high up on a chair, and Bear wants him to come down and play. How he got up on that bistro, wiry-legged thing is a question for another time. Bear calls his pal down and entices him to enjoy the day with him, but Dog is afraid to come down—and this is where my lesson begins. Fear. And heights. I am afraid of heights (freakishly, even the third floor of Nordstrom’s better have something not offered anywhere within a 20 mile radius or I am seriously going without, and what’s worse is that the preschooler finds the see-through rotating arm rests ‘fun’) and fear is something I struggle with on a momentary basis and know that I am being held in its sinister bondage, letting it control my choices and, therefore, passing up chances to play with the Bear’s in my life. So what’s a Dog to do? Bear, in his almighty and furry wisdom, suggests that Dog takes one small step forward. Oh, that Bear, always have a voice of reason, but how easy is that to offer when you are the one firmly planted on a non-moving surface, only inches away from a soft landing? Again, I have accepted that I now question, have dialogue, empathize, and sometimes arbitrarily argue with storybook characters and often find answers embedded within their narration.
But Bear has a point, I ponder. That over-sized to-do list waiting for me when I return from school drop-off and the Letter of Introduction to the wellness trade mag and the query to that parenting rag and the crag of dried laundry crumbling off of the dryer surface…what do they all have in common? One step, as small as it may seem and some determination that if I get this underway I may just want to take one more step and another, and perhaps I will soon find myself where I had only envisioned, down on the floor with Bear (or published or with a pretty checked off list, and the fat, giddiness of accomplishment to boot). I like that part.
Fear has a strange way of convincing me that it is the way it is, because it says so. Kind of reminds me of a parent who doesn’t want to argue or give any sound reason so they just rely on the old, ‘Because it just is!’ And I know that fear is really just a motivator, a barometer so that I can change course if the waters become choppier than necessary. But oh, how I succumb to its clutches.
Dog and Bear (along with my Little’s laugh) reminded me of a few things at this early morning engagement:
- See my destination. What do I want more? The assignment, the fulfillment, the play date with Bear or my comfy spot on the teetering stool?
- Take a step in the direction of my goal/fear, what’s the worst outcome I can imagine? Okay, that’s the worst it can get. Are my pants still dry? Good, we’re good then, and
- This may be the best and most challenging part…laugh. Laugh at myself, at the scary distance from air to ground, at the huge expectations I put on myself and laugh heartily with the friends who encourage me to come down and play. So thank you Dog and Bear, and early morning Quaker with my kids.
Sky Sanchez is a native Sacramentan. She writes, blogs, substitute teaches and tutors and is always on the lookout for one more job to add to her bursting at the seams schedule. When she is not at her computer or flipping through writer magazines, she is on all fours summoning her unicorn abilities for her three and a half year old or plugging in one half of the ear buds from her thirteen year old son’s iPOD, usually followed by “Ya, I like that, but turn it down.” She shares a partnership, both in business and by law, with her best friend and biggest fan and proofreader. She writes for The Sacramento Book Review and The San Francisco Book Review, and contributes to Sacramento Talent Magazine andStories on Stage blog. She also scribbles out her own blogs at epicureanpc.wordpress.com and skysf.wordpress.com.