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Laurie Niles

April 29, 2004 at 6:43 AM

What are you scared of?

This was the question my first-grade daughter had to ask every family member for a school assignment. Then she had to ask the follow-up question: what have you done to deal with that fear?

First she asked her Dad, though she knew the answer already. Like a typical former Disney employee, he detests rodents.

“How do you deal with that?” she asked.

“I avoid them,” he declared through clenched teeth, not wanting to think about the issue any more than he had to. She didn’t push it.

Then she asked her three-year-old brother what he was scared of.

“Monsters,” he said seriously.

“What do you do about it?” she asked like a good reporter.

“I scare dem back,” he said. Then he paused a moment as his young imagination kicked into gear. “I hit dem with a sword. And push dem out the window. And…”

We got the picture. He has that Y chromosome working for him.

Then she asked me, and I didn’t have to think about the answer. Forget rats, monsters, snakes, pits of fire…

“I’m afraid of taking auditions, honey,” I said.

“WHAT?” she said, puzzled. The last few months were insane, with Mom locking herself in a practice room three hours a day and actually fighting to get to play that LA Phil audition. Her teacher even laminated the newspaper article about it and put it on the classroom door. It’s been downright ridiculous, all the attention Mom got for taking that audition!

“Really, honey, the first time I took one I was crying before I even started playing,” I said. “I was so scared my bow shook and skipped across the strings. I could barely play.”

“So what did you do about it?” she asked.

“I took every audition I possibly could,” I said. “And even this one that they said I couldn’t!”

She never did tell us what she is scared of….

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