It was bedtime. I lay with him in his bed. He likes to feel the comfort of having us near when he winds down for sleep. I heard his breathing slow and knew he was ready for dreamland. I kissed him goodnight and told him that I loved him.
I left his room and, as I walked down the quite passage, a feeling of relief washed over me. They were both in bed, phew… the day was over and I was looking forward to a little me time – a good movie on Netflix.
I had just settled into my comfy chair when I heard his urgent feet on the passage floor.
Naughty child, I though… I’ve put him to bed! My mama job is OVER! I got ready to sternly send him back to his room.
Mama, he said in a quavering voice. I don’t want to go to hell. His lips trembled a little as he said this and his eyes were big and worried.
My mothering heart melted and I opened my arms for him to fold himself into me. Teddy, my bear, I hugged him tight, you’ll never go to hell.
You’re a good boy.
You are a kind boy.
But what if I turn bad? he asked.
You never will, my sweetheart.
You will always be kind and giving.
You will always care for others.
You will always love and be loved.
You might do naughty things… but we will work through them with honesty and truth.
His eyes searched for reassurance in mine. And then he smiled faintly and asked Mama, will you come lie with me?
Yes, I replied.
As I lay in his bed with him, his head nestled against my chest and his sweet sleeping breath on my arm I thought how I must be the luckiest person in all the world. This sweet boy.
Mothering is a gift so precious it makes my throat hurt and my eyes sting.
I crept out of his room and nestled back into my comfy chair once more.
I looked up and there Kitty stood. Her face was stricken. I’m itchy, Mama. I think I have a heat rash.
OK, I smiled gently… let me get the Calamine lotion and then I’ll come and lie with you.
Every day, all day, all night… I am a mother. It’ll be over all too soon and then I’ll miss these long, messy days with all my heart.
[Note : It was very surprising to me to hear him say the word ‘Hell’ since we have never talked about this concept at home. We have gently talked about it since. I’ve learned that he had been introduced to the concept (and word) by other children, which is bound to happen from time to time. We do all we can to protect our kids from scary things but it is inevitable that a certain amount of (what we (my Good Man and I) would consider) inappropriate content will filter through. We try not to (outwardly) overreact when these things happen but try rather to hold a space of trust and safety for our children to settle into, so that they can process the new information with us, in a way that is healthy and helpful. I was grateful he came to me with his worries and feel so thankful to SEE he feels he can trust me. It’s true that protecting our children comes with it’s own set of challenges but these are challenges I want to be a part of. This experience strengthened our belief as parents that protecting our children is a priority in our home and that, when they do learn about things that we would rather have protected them from, we will work with them to make sense of the world.]
Blessings and magic,