Military mama: Soothing children’s fears part of parental duties

There are so many times in life that I wish that I were more eloquent and far faster on the trigger when it comes to answering tricky questions. I never thought that I would be stumped long before the birds and the bees need be addressed.

It started with a lightning storm. Kaleb is terrified by lightning and after a summer in Florida we found that the only solution to ease his fear of thunder was to explain that it is simply angels bowling. Kaleb loves bowling. It seemed like an innocent enough explanation. I know I heard it a time or two in my childhood and I was still able to grasp reality come science class time, so I figured it was a harmless fib.

We’ve already had a great deal of confusion around Christmas with the stories of Santa and Jesus intermingling to a comical conclusion. But this stormy night, suddenly the dam broke and Kaleb fell apart on us. Suddenly we were discussing heaven and hell, life and death and Christianity.

I often forget that despite not understanding everything that is discussed in his proximity, he is able to pick up the breadcrumbs and throw them together to his own satisfaction, or in this case his detriment. The big picture he comes up with isn’t always accurate.

What began as fright soon brought sobbing and shaking, telling me that he didn’t want to go to heaven. And obviously, his perception has been infiltrated by all sorts of outside concepts. Suddenly lightning brought up angels, angels went to heaven, heaven lead to dying and Kaleb was suddenly mentally facing his own life and death.

I wanted so badly to give up and just have grandma answer the questions and try to soothe him via phone. But I hung tight ‘til the end of the rambling road.

It took a great deal of untangling and deciphering to figure out how he had made each leap. I kept telling him that he was just a little boy and that he didn’t need to worry about dying, and that he would live a long, long time until he was a grandpa. And this led to a great deal of concern over his various grandparents and also Mr. Fredrickson from the movie “Up.” It seemed that every angle I tried to approach he found a loophole and yet another cause for concern. Eventually I waddled my way through to the point that he was once again calm. There is still a lot of “muddy water” that will need to be resolved.

It wasn’t pretty, but I survived. I vow, right here and now that the next “big one” is completely up to hubby!