Sunday, May 26, 2013
My children are afraid of homeless people and robbers. They are afraid of monsters in their closets and the bogey man outside. I understand the fear of the unknown. I understand why I must chase monsters out of closets and repeatedly remind the bogey man to behave. I also understand the mystery that surrounds homeless people in my children's minds. And, I understand that the concept of a thief is unsettling to them.
On Christmas Eve when Ellie was about four she looked up at me as I tucked her snug in her bed. She whispered, "Momma? Is tonight the night that big fat man is going to break into our house while we are sleeping?"
So, the fear of thievery is not a new concept in these woods.
Part of it may be that we live away from the hustle and bustle of town. My kids are not used to neighborhood noises and busyness. To them, the sounds of screech owls in the evening and roosters in the morning are normal – unless said rooster is blind and crows all night.
My brother calls my kids country bumpkins. He isn’t entirely off-base.When my kids spent the night at his home in town he thought they might enjoy a walk through the neighborhood. At the end of their street my son spied a neighborhood watch sign. Apparently his eyes grew big as he asked, "Does that mean that bad people live here?" My brother laughed as he tried to explain it actually meant the neighborhood was safe. Not buying it, my daughter stomped her foot and demanded to go back to his home where it was safe. No doubt she double-checked the locks once they were safe inside.
Recently, my friend invited me to run a Zombie Run with her. I know myself well enough to know that being chased by zombies would freak me out. Who's to prevent some stray zombie from getting in the game, right? I mean, how do you tell the good zombies from that bad? Is there some sort of screening process? I had to decline the offer. It was a tough moment for my ego. Shortly after I declined the first invitation my sister-in-law invited me to yet another Zombie Run! Apparently these are all the rage. What happened to Color Runs? Bursts of happiness in colorful packages of cornstarch?
My sister-in-law was sure my son would like to run it also. Thinking maybe I was just a random weenie I asked my son if he would like to run a Zombie run.
"What is that?" he asked.
"Well, is is a three-mile run through mud and stuff," I replied.
"That sounds so cool!"
"Yeah, it sounds like it would be right? But, there are zombies that chase you while you run."
"Zombies? Are zombies homeless?" I kid you not. Those were his words.
"Ah, I don't actually know? Maybe they have homes?"
"Why would anyone want to be chased by zombies? That is crazy! I don't want to do that! You didn't sign us up did you?"
I admit that I was happy to find out I was not alone in my fear of zombie chases through the woods. Had we run this together, I might shame myself by leaving my 9-year-old to fend for himself. I can see his face among the Zombie-fied asking "Where's my mom?" as he looks at a trail of fire marking my tracks.
The fears of childhood it would seem often follow us into adulthood. Though I truly hope some of my children's fears dissipate with time. As much as I can, I try to educate them so their fears will wane. For now, I am defender of the closets and disciplinarian of the the bogey man. To defend my children, I know without a doubt I would go toe-to-toe with anyone threatening them...probably even a zombie (but I promise to provide a terrible case of indigestion!).