Tonight, about 10 minutes after putting Landon to bed, he came downstairs crying. He wanted me to come with him in the other room because he said he had to tell me something. I was a little concerned because he hasn't come downstairs after being put to bed in quite awhile. He was really upset, so it took him a few minutes to actually calm down before he could tell me what was wrong...finally, he said "I'm scared to be upstairs by myself".
Well, being scared at bedtime is nothing new in our house. Both of my kids went through the "I'm scared to be alone, I want to sleep with you" routine, but we never let them sleep with us. We always just reassured them and put them back to bed reminding them that they are safe and we are just downstairs, or in another room or whatever, and it has worked out just fine for all of us.
So, I reminded Landon that his sister was in the room right next to his, still doing her homework. Her music was on (and we could all hear it), her door was open and her light was shining in his room, how could he be scared? He then told me that he knew that, but that he was scared because "when people die they don't get another chance and they can't come back, and it just isn't fair" and then he starting crying again.
I really didn't know what to say to him. Yes, of course we all die, but I don't want the poor kid to sit up worrying about that. I basically told him that yes, all living things die, but if we sit around thinking about it we will drive ourselves crazy. I told him to try to think about all the great things we can do and try during our life and not to think about how it will end. I am pretty sure that didn't comfort him, but I just didn't know what else to say. I didn't want to make it sound like it was silly for him to be thinking about it, but I certainly don't want him dwelling on what the end will be like....it's just a scary thought.
I can remember being about his age when I started to think about what would happen when I died. I remember lying in bed at night and crying myself to sleep worrying about what the end would be like. What would my family do without me? What would I do without my family. Where would I go? Would it be scary? Maybe if I am really good, and don't fight with my sister, and let her be Barbara (for some reason we loved that name!) when we play house, I will live forever. Maybe if I do what my parents say and don't backtalk, maybe then I won't die! I would get so worried about it I would beg my sister to sing to me so that I could get to sleep. She would sing and sing and I would finally feel better, and fall asleep.
When I was tucking him back into bed, he said he really hoped we all died and turned into animals or into new little kids, so we could live again. He said maybe when I died, I would be his kid, and then he would take care of me till he died and then he would be my kid again! He seemed comforted by his own guesses at what would happen to us when our time came to die, so I left it at that and told him I would be happy to be his child if I died and got to turn back into a child. Or his dog. Or cat. Or hermit crab....and since he doesn't have a little sister to sing him to sleep, I turned on his radio and wished him sweet dreams.