Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bedtime Stories

For the past few months, my son Gabe has insisted on having me close by as he fell asleep. He has, in his own words, "bad thoughts" that keep him from sleeping. After some tears and gentle pleading, I was finally able to find out what his bad thoughts are.

Gabe is afraid of something terrible happening to his family and of us all dying. This, of course, breaks my heart. I know for a fact that he is really confused by his brother Gaven's death and by Gaven's place in our family. We talk about him often and we have pictures of him throughout the house. When we talk about our sizes, our ages, our interests, Gaven is included. Gabe is always the first person to include this brother he never met, in all activities that include the whole family. Gabe wants to figure out where Gaven fits in as much as he wants to understand the mystery of death.

I'm sad that Gabe has such a heavy heart at times and that he has any cause to worry about anything other than his next soccer game or getting to go outside for recess. But, he does. When a family loses a child, it does indeed affect us all.

Our bedtime ritual includes talking about his bad thoughts, asking God to take them away, praying for the entire family and, if we're lucky, a good chuckle over something silly like Barney's fake playground set and things that Gabe used to like....back in the day when he was 5.

I try not to get too caught up in the sadness and drama of my newly-6 son's world, but I also don't ever want to leave him hanging. It takes alot of energy to face his fears with him, night after night, but I know, like so many other things, he will put this behind him someday. If I can be there for him, in some small way, now, and all along the way, perhaps we will have the type of relationship I hope to have with him when he's a preteen, a teen and an adult: open, trusting, fun, emotional and honest.

On this note, I wish my sweet boy a good night and to all of the little ones out there who have fears, doubts and 'bad thoughts', I ask that your spend that extra 10 minutes with your child now so that they know they are loved.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

What a spectacular momma you are! It's so tough when our babies start to grow up and realize the world can be scary, that bad things can happen.. He is awfully lucky to have a mom who takes the time for him like that, and you are lucky to have such a sweet sensitive boy.


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