Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Monsters Under the Bed

The same imagination that permitted me to find shapes in the clouds during the days of my childhood allowed me to see monsters in the darkness of my room at night. 

"Daaaaddy!" I would squeal, just before hyperventilation overtook me. He would leave his TV program in the family room to come to my rescue. We had it down to a routine. The scariest things were under my bed. He would kneel down beside my bed, and would lift the blankets to peer underneath.

"No monsters here, Princess."

"Check the closet. I saw one in the closet."

He would walk over to my closet, and look in both sides of the sliding doors.

"No monsters here, Princess."

Satisfied that my room was safe, I would hug him tightly, and kiss his neck.

"Thank you, Daddy. Would you leave my light on?"  He would.  
"And leave my door open?  In case I need you?" He would.

With the light on my dresser illuminating my small room, there were no dark shadows creating awful creatures to terrify me. I still kept my hands and feet under the covers so nothing could get me while I slept. To be safe, I never allowed my extremities to get near the edge of the bed. I could only imagine what lurked under my bed before Daddy came to do his sweep of the premises.

Throughout childhood, okay, to be frank, until I became a mom, I was terrified of the dark, and monsters in my closet, and that awful thing that lived under my bed with long fingernails that would snatch my hand or foot if I dared let any appendage dangle from the safety of bed's edge. I slept lightly, always aware when Daddy headed to the kitchen for his midnight snack. To be in his presence meant safety (and cookies) so I always made a bee-line for the kitchen when I knew he was there.

Even as a teenager, I can remember arguing with myself on hot, sultry nights in Virginia, that logically, I knew that sheets were not magical, and were no protection against evil forces. I would experiment, and dangle my hand over the edge of my bed, tempting fate, and withdraw it quickly, and tuck it back under the relative safety of the sheet, wishing for all the world I were brave enough to sleep on top of those infernal covers.

Monsters under the bed no longer frighten me, which is just as well seeing as Daddy is no longer here to help protect me from them. 

Since he has gone, I have had to face my fears on my own. I am finding my brave. I am learning to embrace the darkness, knowing there is the promise of a new day in the morning. Facing my fears has made me realize I am braver than I knew. I think Daddy would be proud. 


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