My seven-year-old has just passed the threshold from happy ignorance to informed fear.
She is just now old enough to understand, in a limited way, that there is true and concrete evil in the world. And that scares her.
Bad guys. Monsters. Robbers.
Add to that fires and earthquakes, and I have one scared little girl. This is the girl who used not to be scared of anything. The one who jumped into the pool before she could swim. The one who barreled through the gates of preschool and said, “See ya later, Mom!”
The past several months she has been curious about how safe our home is, if we have an escape plan (oops, put that on my list), what do we do in an earthquake, and if angels really do protect her all night long.
So, I pray with her again. Give her an extra kiss or two and leave the light on in the bathroom. I sing to her and tell her a story. I tell her to pray for peace when she gets scared because that’s the only way I know how to stop being afraid myself.
“Because Mamas are afraid too.”
“And they get scared and feel alone and wonder if they are the only ones. Mamas get scared of robbers and fires sometimes.”
“But mostly Mamas worry about their little girls. And then the only thing a Mama can do is to pray for her girls and their safety and that the angels take special care.”
And then what I don’t say is that I get extra scared because of the worst kinds of evil, the kinds I can’t tell her about and hope she never discovers. I can’t tell her that there are real, true things to be genuinely scared of and that only answer is prayer. And faith. And trust. And that in itself is scary.
And then I have to live what I tell her.
Sometimes its hard being a Mama and being afraid of the dark more than she is.