“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein

Last night Harry had his first attack of real fear.  We were watching, of all things, an episode of  “Phineas and Ferb” – one of his all-time favorite shows, and at least tolerable for parental viewing – and suddenly he said “Mommy, turn this off.  I am scared. I don’t want to watch this anymore.”  He had his hands in his mouth and he was literally trembling.

The cartoon is not normally disturbing.  It is silly and a tad bit surreal, but never disturbing.  However, this particular episode was predicated on the main characters watching a late-night vintage movie of the cheesy low-budget “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” variety that involved aliens and heads in jars.  The character in the cartoon let it scare her.  And so did Harry.

That night he wanted to sleep with mommy and daddy and we aquiesced.  He lay in bed between us, wide-eyed, fingers in his mouth, directing us to “whisper, or the aliens will hear us.”  It became apparent that he had mixed together the evening show and the Berkeley Breathed tearjerker Mars Needs Moms when he turned to me and said “Mommy, I am tired and I want to go to sleep, but I need to stay awake and protect you from the aliens.”


(That is the sound of a mother’s heartstrings pulled to breaking.)

I looked at his earnest little face, and dark, dark eyes, wide with anxiety.  “Baby, go to sleep.  The aliens won’t get your mother.  Because she is too old and too tough and would NEVER EVER let an alien take her away from her little boy.  And the aliens don’t want me because I am way too mean anyway.”

And he sighed and he rolled over and dropped instantly into slumber.

I lay awake with my fears, those adult fears that are not as easily dismissed.  The fears when you find you are a grown up, and there is no big bed to climb into, and the problems are so much more complex than an alien that can be combatted by a baseball-bat swinging parent.  Selfishly, I missed the days when my worst fears came from the Twilight Zone. And I immediately thanked God that my son lived a life where the most frightening thing he has dealt with was a scary cartoon on the television.  I thought about the days ahead when his fears would not be so easily dismissed, of the things I could not shield him from, of the pains I could not take away.

It is so tempting, the feeling that I can take away his fears.  That everything can be okay when Mommy is nearby.   That a word can soothe and reassure.  But my mind roves ahead to other, unknowable, times and I feel so very small.  And just a little bit afraid.

March 5th, 2010 at 12:44 pm
4 Responses to “Kid Fears”
  1. 1

    Just don’t solve all his problems with Oreos. Mom did that. When I got older, it took more Oreos per problem. Now I weight 250 pounds!


  2. 2
    Sara Says:

    Isn’t it amazing how their minds make connections that you’d never be able to predict? Just a few days ago Puppy apologized to me for cutting down the little topiary tree that he cut down two years ago. Still wondering what made him remember that and feel the guilt again. But I also love how right now, we still have to power to put all the fears away for them.

  3. 3
    Deirdre Says:

    yes we are small, but God is BIG and we can trust him – 1 John 1:5b God is Light, in Him there is NO DARKNESS AT ALL

  4. 4

    […] aforementioned attack of fear experienced by my son in response to aliens-come-bodysnatcher cartoon has seriously hampered my […]