I remember being scared a lot when I was little. Not scared for any legitimate reason, just scared of things I thought I saw in shadows, noises I thought I heard in the quiet.
I used to get up in the middle of the night, look out the window of my room, and go wake my parents to tell them that people were out there stealing my father's car. Like, picking it up and carrying it away on foot. I was certain I could see them, certain I was saving the day. My sweet Daddy always got up and looked out the window, before gently reassuring me there were no car-toting thieves in front of our house, and letting me scramble into bed with them.
Being the very street smart girls that we were, we set up a foolproof safety plan. We locked ourselves in an interior bathroom, with a (very heavy!) box of Tide balanced precariously on the behind-the-door towel rack, and armed ourselves with hairspray, a curling iron, and a bottle of 409.
We called my friend's mother from the safety of the bathroom and asked her to hurry over. We gave her clear instructions to knock three times and ring the doorbell once, so that we would know it was her and could safely come to the door. She obliged and we swung open the bathroom door, forgetting about our laundry detergent booby trap. The (very heavy!) box of Tide hit the corner of my glasses on the way down, forever giving them an uber cool, kind of bent-up look. We tore down the stairs, screaming like banshees, with our bottles of hairspray and 409 held out in front of us like canisters of pepper spray primed for attack, and flung open the door to one very surprised mother, who--thankfully--took us to her house for the day.
I guess when everyone started reading Mary Higgins Clark novels I should have known they wouldn't be the best material for my active imagination. But I simply could not resist. And thus many a night of bedtime reading ended in my sleeping on a pallet of blankets at the foot of my parents' bed, willing myself not to think of murderers and kidnappers and torturers.
We are really struggling with how to help him right now. We've had discipline problems with him staying in his bed before, but this is different. This is practically tangible fear. I've taught him to pray for strength and courage, and explained to him that God is always with him. I've turned on extra lights and left the door open. The Mister has slept on the floor by his bed many a night. We've discussed the reasons he need not be afraid of these things. And yet, last night he couldn't fall asleep until I had pulled the playpen up to touch the side of my bed, like a baby's bassinette.
Mostly I wish he weren't afraid because I see how much it upsets him. But also it would also be nice to have a peaceful night of sleep here and there--for him and for us. When Baby Girl arrives, she's going to get first priority on bunking in with us, so I'm worried about how that will go, too. And, at some point, Buddy Boy is going to catch on that big brother is getting to sleep in our room. It can't go on like this forever, but I'm at a loss as to what to do.
These years are short, and we're just doing the best we can.