“Dude, get back into bed.”
“Mommy, I’m scared. Scared of the dark in the closet…”
I shut the closet door and ushered him back into bed, with promises that his Puppy and all of his friends would protect him. That Mommy and Daddy were there and would always protect him. That he would be safe.
I went downstairs and started to feel angry. Because why is my 3.5 year old scared? How does he know that there are things that go bump in the night and people out there that hurt each other? Why does he have to worry about that?
Why does he have to worry that there are people out there that mindlessly plant bombs, or send letters, or say hateful, hurtful things.
Why does he have to worry about living in a world where bad things DO happen? And that Mommys and Daddys can’t always keep their kids safe?
How do you explain that even though he wants desperately to play with pretend guns, REAL guns actually hurt people? That these video games that he wants to play can be terrifyingly real?
Why does he have to know all this at 3.5 years old?
I want to keep him in a bubble, keep him safe and protected from the evil world out there. Keep him from ever being afraid. Keep him from knowing that there are people that would do these things.
But I can’t. Because they happen every day. And the world can be cruel and heartless and violent.
But he doesn’t need to know that.
So I just teach him that we are here. That the world can be beautiful and light. That people can do good, wonderful things for each other. That love is the most important thing.