"PPPPPLLLLLLLEEEEASE MOMMY!!!! I DON'T WANT TO BE ALONE!!!!!!" Big Sister cries from the bottom of the stairs.
"I know, Big Sister. I know. But I have to find your tights and we have to get ready to go. So, please. Go potty and I will be right there."
She wines a little. "But I don't want to be alone!!!"
I am frustrated. I am overwhelmed. "Big Sister. Go."
She starts crying. Big sobs. Really from her soul crying as she runs over to her bathroom. And then I hear her voice again. In my head. The scared voice that came from her earlier in the morning. "There was a monster in my closet, Daddy, and you let him out when you opened the door," she yelled as Hubby opened the bathroom door on his way out of the shower. I hear that voice in my head and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I realize something. She is really scared. For real. She is afraid to be alone.
I don't know why. I wonder if she has some sort of anxiety due to our life for the past two years. But then, maybe she would have anyway. Some kids have nightmares. Hubby had them, nightly, until he was twelve or thirteen. So, maybe she inherited them. I don't know. She is too young to tell me. She sees monsters in the shadows. She hears scary things in every unidentified noise. She hates the dark. She has real fear.
As soon as I come to this realization I go running across the house. I pick up my girl and hold her in my lap until she calms down. I hug her. I kiss her. I make all the scary alone badness go away. My hands are shaking. In this moment I know that the next time she asks I will go with her. I will not make her go alone. She does not need to be independent. That will come in time. She will not need me to go to the bathroom with her when she is 16.
Listening. It all comes down to listening. I need to listen better. When Big Brother and Big Sister throw fits and cry they need love. They need understanding. They need us to listen to how they are feeling. When she says she doesn't want to be alone she needs me to listen. She needs someone to go to the bathroom or downstairs or wherever with her. She is scared. When Big Brother asks us to do something with him he is telling us he needs our attention. Oddly enough they tend to be saying flat out what they need. And yet, I have rarely been hearing them. But I am listening now.
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