Day 9: Acts of Bravery

Girl and Boy in principle share a big bed in the Kids’ room, and I read stories to them together, but it only rarely happens that they can fall asleep together. They fool or they fight and after several warnings I usually separate them, or they separate themselves, with Girl storming into my bedroom and getting in my bed.

Or, as was the case tonight, Boy comes to tell me something that Girl has done, and I find her curled into the Ball of Shame on my bed. Probably she hit him. But at the end of a long day I’m not going to nitpick. (We had co-op today, and Nana left and won’t be back til January.) I fix the pillows and pull back the blankets, and hug her and kiss her and tell her I love her so, so much. She suddenly looks intensely embarrassed and asks if she can tell me something, and makes me promise not to get mad or say anything about it, and I even have to hide my head and not look at her. She can barely get the words out. “More than [Boy]?” “No, baby, I love you both the same. Are you worried that I love you more, or do you wish that I loved you more?” Again, she makes me promise not to be mad, and I have to hide my face. She whispers, I wish you loved me more. And her eyes are enormous, and anxious. I tell her it is okay, really okay, that all kids probably wish that sometimes, and that I would never, ever get mad at her for a wish or a thought. That she is only responsible for her actions.

It’s funny to me how shameful and anxiety-provoking it is to her to voice that wish. I’m glad that she tells me what she’s thinking.

But that is not good night. A few minutes later she comes out to the living room to ask us if she can go outside. Last night she had asked if she could go out and look for zombies in the dark. (Long story. Involving yard ornaments. Halloween. Old fears. Suffice it to say it was a request of astonishing bravery.) Last night we said no. I was tired and sick and Nana was packing to leave. Tonight we say yes. So she packs up a small owly-print backpack with a flashlight, a magnifying glass, binoculars from Chick-Fil-A. She puts on her rainboots over her jammies and heads out into the night. She isn’t out long. In fact, I’m not really certain she left the carport. She comes back in reporting brightly that this was just her practice. Tomorrow night is going to be the real exploration.

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