Glass Half Empty

I sometimes wonder if it is the curse of the first-born child to be cautious and a worrier, because as first time parents we tend to hover and be over-protective (where the second child is the adventurous free-spirit, because either we’ve gained confidence or we’re too worn out to care.)

When my kiddo shows signs of anxiousness about something, I have to wonder how much is nature and how much is nurture – although, either way, it would come down to me anyway.  That said, we do our best to control the things that might cause unnecessary anxiety for a child with a very active imagination and a glass half empty attitude when it came to things that worried him.

You know, like giving a boy a book about the Titanic a few weeks before you take him on his first cruise. I would highly recommend avoiding this idea.

He had asked for the Magic Tree House fact guide about the Titanic along with the story of the same. My mom had sent them to us in the UK along with some other Magic Tree House books she found, but I pulled the Titanic books and put them on a high shelf. For later.

After the cruise.

You see, the cruise was a surprise. We thought we’d have one of those awesome Disney reveals just like in the commercials, so we only told the kids that we were going to Barcelona and then down the coast of Italy on our holiday. The day before we were to leave for the cruise, we made our big announcement. (Ostensibly, we waited because we wanted them to enjoy our time in Spain and not be asking “when are we leaving” every minute of the day.)

We shouldn’t have worried.

When we told them, our daughter yelled “yay” and squealed, just like in the commercials.

My son face planted himself into the sofa, sobbing “do we have to go?”

Then the onslaught of questions. “We’ll just be sailing into the bays, right? Not out into the ocean? Just along the coast? We’ll be able to see land the entire time?”

And as parents sometimes do, we lied.  “Yes” (thinking that this was not the Disney moment we were going for.)

We a bit of prodding and questions we realized that he had indeed read those books. Needless to say he worried through the boarding. He worried through the pictures and the lifeboat drill (where we pointed out that there were indeed enough lifeboats for EVERYONE.) At dinner, as the boat rocked back and forth – none to gently, I may add – he worried more.

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Still not entirely sure….

Unlike the passengers of the Lusitania, with the Titanic not long in their memories and sailing into a war zone where German U-boats were a definite threat and yet possessing an almost lackadaisical attitude, my guy had one eye on the location of the nearest life vest.

On the second day of the cruise, he relaxed some. Soon he realized that all the worrying was for nothing, and he enjoyed himself.

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Sometimes, the anticipation of something is far worse than the actuality.

 

In the tradition of the From Left to Write book club, this post was inspired by Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson, a thrilling account of Lusitania’s last voyage across the Atlantic Ocean and the U-boat that attacked it. Join From Left to Write on March 26th as we discuss Dead Wake. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes. This post contains affiliate links.

For my take on the book itself, I posted a more traditional review for What I’m Reading Wednesday!

Comments

  1. Such a cute story! I’m glad he was able to move past his fear.

  2. So hard to see the little ones panic about things like this! I am glad he was able to relax and enjoy the wonderful vacation!

  3. Well told story. Our oldest is a boy too and he was very active but a bit more cautious in a lot of ways if compared to our daughter when they were young. I could see our son having a similar reaction if he had read about the Titanic just before boarding a cruise. Sounds like you handled it well!

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