Sunday, March 13, 2011

Freedom from Fear

On the night of September 11 into the dawn of September 12 2001, when Sarge was in a living hell of coordinated chaos and fear, ending his first of three days of non-stop disaster response work, I kept vigil quietly at home, cuddling my 9-month-old daughter tight against me. Unable to sleep in our bed, I gathered every quilt in the house and made a cozy nest for myself and our little girl on the living room floor, turned off the horrifying news coverage, and lay down with Hedgehog. Through that night, I nursed her and cozied her and kept us safe from imagined disaster. She was free from fear, unknowing in her sweet bubble of babyhood, though I was not.

In March of 2011, she is ten, lucky in the calm regularity of her life, lucky to end each day of school and friends and light and play in her own warm bed, under the cheerful pink and green smiling owl coverlet we chose for her last August, her arm around her stuffed dog; a lamp in the hall glows in steadfast reassurance, keeping the monsters and the darkness away.

But upstairs, after her bedtime, we sit close together on the couch talking in frowns, because her father and I know better--that the world is terrifying, that darkness can only be held back so much and so long, that we can only make our best effort to keep her out of harm's way, and that for some people in some places, even a best effort is not enough. So we can only try--and probably--please God--succeed...

But how to keep her free from fear?

How do you keep your awake and aware ten-year-old child free from fear?