Sunday, May 23, 2010


So my Bubby, who is a little more than 2 1/2 years old, woke up screaming a couple of times on Friday night, telling me that he couldn't sleep because there were bugs in his bed. This freaks me out more than the typical mom, I think, because several months ago, I watched a TV special about a girl with child-onset schizophrenia, who was living with one foot in reality and one foot in the world of her hallucinations, which would often seem more real, and more threatening, to her than our world. Shortly after that, Bubby started telling me things like,"there's a guy out there," while staring out his window, and "there's a guy under my bed." I literally got chills when my little guy said that. It's possible that Bubby had been saying that kind of stuff before, and I had just kind of tuned it out because I had no meaning to attach to it. I really shouldn't watch shows like that when the kids are in bed and my husband is out of town. Slasher movies are nothing compared to real life mental illness in children.

Back to the bugs. It freaks me out to hear Bubby say that there are bugs in his bed when I know there aren't any. I fear that he is not merely having an active imagination, but that he is in actuality, having real-looking hallucinations. And who can tell with a 2 1/2 year old? Is there really a difference at that age? But wait: there are bugs in Bubby's bed. Currently, Bubby has a Pooh sheet on his bed, with hundreds of...honeybees on it! I didn't have the courage to ask why he was afraid of them, fearing that he would tell me they were moving, coming for him; instead, I reassured Bubby that the bugs would not hurt him, and I doubt I will put that particular sheet on his bed again. It turns out I wasn't quite reassuring enough: Bubby slept the rest of the night on Friday on the floor, and insisted on sleeping there Saturday night as well. Perhaps it didn't occur to him that the bees would fly out of his bed and find him on the floor...

I don't know whether to to fear for my child, or to laugh at my fears and at myself, so I do a little of both. What a privilege and what an incredible responsibility motherhood is, calling for gut-wrenching displays of courage on a daily basis. I don't know what God was thinking when He put me in charge of these children's earthly lives. Maybe just that I would rise to the occasion and do my best, putting the rest in His extremely competent hands. I have never known such all-encompassing love, or such debilitating feelings of inadequacy. I guess the true measure of a mother is her willingness to charge bravely into those situations that she really would rather not deal with, because that is what is needed to protect, and guide, and nurture her child.

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