Monday, April 20, 2015

A Robber in the Basement

"Mommy!  Mommy!" my three year old screamed out at 11 PM. "I have to pee!!"
We were staying at my sister's new house in Colorado so I assumed he couldn't remember where the bathroom was located.  I ran downstairs to help him, scooped him up and brought him to the bathroom.

"Here's the potty, baby.  Did you forget where it was?" I asked.
"I didn't want the robber to get me!"
"What robber, love?"
"Gavin said there is a robber hiding in the basement!"

My five year old nephew, Gavin, has a very vivid imagination.  He tells wild stories about robbers and ninjas with wide eyes filled with conviction.  You believe every word.  I was not necessarily surprised that my baby boy did, too.

"Oh, honey, there's no robber in the basement.  I promise."
"Yes there is!  Gavin said so.  There's really a robber hiding!  I don't want him to get me!"
"I promise that we will protect you.  Let's get back into bed.  Daddy and I are right here.  We're right down the hall."

He quieted down and went to sleep without any hesitation.  Until 1 AM when the fear struck him again.  He burst into our room sobbing, "Don't make me sleep alone!  Don't make me!"

My husband set up the small couch in our room as a bed and tucked him in with bear hugs.  He tried to convince him that the robber was not here but nothing he said convinced him.  He slept fitfully and woke up at least three more times during the night.

Needless to say, we were tired that next morning.  All of the kids snuggled up on the couch to watch Disney Jr. while my husband and I drink giant mugs of coffee.  My seven year old nephew, Brody, joined us.  "Hey Aunt Kate!  What's up?" he said as he climbed up on the couch.
"Oh I'm just tired.  Apparently Gavin told Drew that there is a robber in the basement and he was too scared to sleep."
Immediately, my nephews eyes filled with pity.  "Oh no...Poor Drew!"  He wrapped his arms around his little cousin.  "There aren't really robbers here, Drew.  Don't worry."
"Yes there are!  For really!  Gavin said so!" my son retorted, still unwilling to let this truth go.
"If there was a robber, there would be broken glass and an alarm would go off.  Did you see any broken glass?" Brody asked him lovingly.
"Okay, then there aren't any robbers.  Got it?"
"Okay Brody," he said as his shoulders finally relaxed.

It was beautiful to see the love and compassion between the two cousins.  We had said the exact same words to my son but when he heard it from the cousin he admires the most, he heard them.  

We often wish we could be the one to get through to our kids.  We want them to hear the reasoning in our argument or see the logic in our words.  But we are not always the best messengers.  Sometimes it takes a peer, a grandparent, or someone they admire to finally get the message through.  It reminds me how important it is to surround them with good people, loving people and kind people.  If we do that, there will always be someone in their life that will help them through whatever life hands to them.

Do your children have a strong support system?  How can you help facilitate those relationships?

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