When the days are hard

8:04 PM

Some days it is so hard to be a parent.  Tonight, Cameryn was watching Homeward Bound. She's an animal lover so this movie is perfect for her. I tend to shy away from animal movies because they're so heart wrenching and I end up crying like a baby (I've also never made it through an episode of Parenthood without shedding a tear so I may just be an emotional mess to begin with.)  During the movie a little girl gets lost in the woods and the animals find and save her. Cameryn starts telling me about this scene (I missed it while putting Jordin to sleep) and she starts crying, taking deep breaths, her bottom lip quivering.  I realize that something about this has scared her and she bursts out, "What if I get lost and you can't find me?  What if I'm old enough to go camping and if get lost and a bear comes to get me?"

And then I broke.

This is a rational fear for a child to have. What if she he does get lost?  It's every parents absolute worst nightmare.  For a child, it's more terrifying than anything else in the whole world.

I then realized that I've never really talked to her about what to do if we get separated in a store, or a park or at the fair. We've talked about stranger danger, gently, but never really about being lost. And I felt like the worst parent in the world. How do you not talk about it to your child?

And I realized, holding her, my shirt wet from her tears, it's because I didn't want her to have to face reality.  I wanted to keep her in world of glitter and rainbows, Barbies and ponies, because at four, she  shouldn't have to know what could happen.  I don't want her to have to realize that the world that she lives in can be a cruel place.  That the monsters she believes to be fiction, are very much real.

I don't want her to know these terrible things. I don't want her to be scared of her daily life. I want her to feel safe, empowered, and confident.  I want her to be innocent for as long as possible.  I want her to ride her bike down the street without having to worry. I want her to be able to walk to her friends house and okay outside without looking over her shoulder. But she needs to be aware, and it's my job as her parent to teach her and empower her with the knowledge, strength, and confidence of what to do if something should happen.

And this is why it's so hard to be a parent some days. Because these conversations with my four year old are difficult. The conversations will get more difficult as she gets older.  The topics will get more uncomfortable.  And we will take them one day at a time.

But now?  I'm inhaling the smell of her Downey infused nightgown and lavender soap. I'm cuddling her and telling her that she is safe here with me.  That right now, she is exactly where she should be and that the world is good and right.   She'll go to sleep smiling and tell me that she loves me and that I'm the best mom ever. Which lets me know that she feels safe and it's been a good day.

Which is all that matters, anyway.


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