Friday, January 4, 2013


We've been dealing with fear a lot lately in our house.  
The boy is afraid of monsters.  Afraid of the dark.  Afraid of being alone.  Afraid of getting out of his bed at night.  
As a result, we've also been dealing with a lot of wet sheets, crying and crabbiness.  
This one is hard for me.  I don't know what to do for my boy to make it better.  I want to teach him how to have courage.  How to work through things instead of running away from them.  I want to teach him how to find his inner strength.  How to lean on God, who is the giver of inner strength.
I remember being afraid when I was a girl.  I vividly remember having terrible nightmares of snakes.  I remember being afraid to get out of bed, too, and jumping as far away from the bed as possible so the monsters I was certain were under there couldn't get me.  I remember the terror.  To this day I'm still afraid of snakes.  Living in Florida was not easy for this girl.  When we first moved there, for weeks, I would kiss Hubby goodbye in the morning, look out the window, and just cry, thinking about all the snakes that I just knew were lurking right outside the door, waiting to bite my pregnant, swollen ankles and kill me.  (Yeah, I know....can I pull the pregnancy-hormone card on this one???)
I also remember that one day I didn’t jump far from the bed when I got up.  And after a few weeks in Florida, I stopped looking out the window and crying; I opened doors without expecting something bad to happen.  There weren't any magic words or epiphanies that made things manageable.  It took time.  And consistency.  Eventually, he has to learn his fears don't cause bad things.  That he's gonna be okay even if something scary happens in his mind or in the world.  I am still afraid of lots of things.  Snakes still top my list, and if you say there is no such things as monsters you obviously haven’t seen the news this century.  

 Fear is a very real part of life and it isn’t all bad.  Being afraid keeps us from doing a lot of stupid stuff.  Having a healthy fear is something I dearly want my children to have.  But I don’t want my kids to be so afraid of the unknown that they can’t function.  Seeing my boy experience this debilitating fear breaks my heart.  His fear is real to him.  So much was taken from him when Jameson got sick and died.  He lost his brother.  His roommate.  And the room, house, and world were all instantly a little lonelier for him.  He also lost a huge part of childhood innocence.  That safe feeling that nothing can hurt me, and that mom and dad can fix anything, left him at age 4.  What a horrible thing.  He knows bad things can happen to children.  He knows mom and dad can't make everything all better.
It is my job to teach him how to navigate through this world.   I want so desperately to teach him how to do it without letting this paralyzing fear take over.  I want to teach him that being afraid is okay; everyone is afraid of something.  It isn't the fear that is the problem, but how you handle it.  And this is where I get lost.  I look back on my life and all of my bravery has been earned the hard way.  I can't make him brave.  I can't give him courage.  These are characters he needs to develop within himself. 
This process has not been an easy one thus far.  We’ve tried many coping strategies to help him work through his fears to no avail.  I know that one day, he’ll wake up and things will be manageable.  And he’ll be able to look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.  He’ll find his courage.  Until then, I’m working on developing patience. 

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