At bed time, Chase often lingers downstairs until Dave or I are ready to accompany him on the walk up to his third floor bachelor pad.  When our time or our patience is short, we will suggest that he go on ahead and get ready for bed alone; we will be up momentarily to say goodnight.  He usually balks at this directive and finds some way to busy himself until we are ready to join him.  It’s the unspoken situation but Chase doesn’t like going upstairs by himself.  He wants company.  The kid is scared.

We try not to play into his fears.  We insist encourage that he go up alone and we follow soon after.  He doesn’t like it but he complies. It’s difficult for him to articulate his fears for a few reasons least of which is that he’s not really quite sure what he is afraid of.  We live in the suburbs.  He is more frightened of what he doesn’t see, than what he does see.  I have checked enough closets and under beds to understand this.  Once everything is deemed OK, so, too, is he.  But make no mistake, his imagination is the real boogie man.

As a child I was afraid to enter rooms by myself.  I pictured bad guys and creepy people waiting for me behind furniture, ready to pounce.  We, too, lived in the suburbs where there was truly no cause for alarm.  But that type of security rationale is no match for a child’s imagination.  And as it turns out, it doesn’t fare much better with grown-ups.

This past week I had the rare opportunity to stay in our house by myself for two nights.  And I was scared.  I know this because of the following symptoms I began to exhibit soon as the sun went down:

  • Turning on an excessive amount of lights inside the house.  You could land a plan in our family room.  Really.
  • Spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about which lights to turn on outside the house.  Too many makes it look OBVIOUS there is a scared little female inside.  Not enough makes the house look like an easy target.
  • Moving the phone directly beside the bed.  Re-affirming that panic button is still nearby.  Wondering if panic button actually works.  Acknowledging that testing it is not a good idea.
  • Wearing an athletic t-shirt and running shorts to bed instead of the usual “damsel in distress” nightie. You know, in case I have to run for my life down the street .  The nightie would be embarrassing.
  • Setting up a bobby-trap of shoes on the hallway floor by the front door so that if someone did enter, I would hear them fall.  This makes a loud noise.  I know this from experience.
  • Running in from walking the dog late at night.
  • Reviewing in my mind a few black belt moves from my training 3 years ago.
  • Wondering if my home was built over an ancient Indian burial ground.
  • Going into cardiac arrest when the dog starts barking for no apparent reason.  I swear the dog never barks until I am by myself in the house at midnight.

For Chase and me, our boogie men may look different but they occupy the same mind share.  At 41 I’m remain a huge scaredy-cat so I have to believe that nothing short of a full lobotomy is going to cure me.  However, Chase may fare better over time.  My hypothesis is that men don’t get creeped-out by imaginary bad guys.   But maybe I’m wrong.  Please weigh in here.

The family will descend back home today and I will be glad to see them.  I’ll be sure to walk Chase upstairs tonight for bed and check any corner he wants me to.  Imagination is no match for us when we’re together.

Hey MoB readers!  This is the last week to enter a chance to win $100 from BlogHer.  Simply leave a comment on my post about Famine Protection or Improving Upon Tradition and you will be entered!  You can enter twice – with a comment on each post.  Just do it.  For the love of Pop-Tarts.
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