Like many of you, we have family visiting for the Easter weekend. The arrival of family means many things – time for cousins to play together, an excuse to clean the house, a tourist visit to DC. It also means bedroom assignment and occupant consolidation time. Lucy gives up her princess suite for her aunt and uncle and bunks in on the inflatable mattress in Mom and Dad’s room. Oh joy.
Lucy is very excited about the short road trip around the corner to our room, but we are not quite as filled with the same level of excitement. Trepidation sounds closer to the feeling. When she is away from her familiar surroundings of Selena Gomez posters and the unlimited children’s library on her bookshelves, she tends to awaken a wee bit earlier than usual. When she wakes up pre-dawn, she is anxious to share that news, much to our dismay. I guess it is worth it for family, isn’t it? Easter comes but once a year.
Lucy moves in all of the comforts of home onto the floor at the foot of our bed. The most favored stuffed animals of the week are invited to sleep with her. The special pillows, the special blankies, the special bedtime reading materials, the special anything that she can carry – it all arrives and occupies open floor space. We initially object about the volume of toys and companions, but we don’t put up much of a fight. She wants to feel safe and secure, and the lovies she sleeps with accomplish that delicate task every day.
But all the blankets, pillows and stuffed friends are not enough. Before bed last night, after Uncle Mike did the guest appearance as nighttime book reader, I went in to kiss her good night. Lucy kindly asked that I lay on the bed above her, and hold her had while she fell asleep. Apparently, Mommy (the sucker) did this yesterday. I wanted to be the strong one, and teach her a valuable lesson in independent living and self-reliance. I caved.
Yes, she used that voice, the voice that I hope each of you has had the opportunity to hear at least once in your lifetime. The irresistible voice of childhood innocence, with a hint of uncertainty behind it that only you could relieve with your calm touch or soothing words. I lay on the bed above her and held her hand, and it was nice.
“Hold my hand.” I recognized in that moment that a sense of security is critical to child, and that knowing we were in the same house was not enough. Being in our room at the foot of the bed was not enough. Hearing our voices in the kitchen while she fell asleep was not enough. Sometimes, the guardians have to be there, in the flesh.
Isn’t it like this for all of us? I thought of the brightly colored Easter eggs in the kitchen, beautifully decorated, with their fragile shells. It is good to remember that at times we are like those eggs. Everything looks great on the outside, but we require delicate handling. We are inherently breakable, even when we’re older.
“Hold my hand.” She should not have needed that extra reassurance. Common sense should have told her that she was safe. But she needed more, and I think we forget that we all need extra reassurance, even when common sense says it should not be required.
Let’s remember that this Easter and beyond.