My house is haunted. At least my kids believed it was once upon a time. As I reread this post from seven short years ago, it surprises me how much has changed and how my predictions of the future have come true.
“Haunted House” was originally posted on February 1, 2014:
We are blessed to live a house that gives the four of us space to be comfortable. If we want to spend time together, we can. If we want to spend time apart, we can go to our rooms and recharge. However, spending time apart doesn’t happen very often, because our house is haunted.
Of course, it’s not really haunted. I’m exaggerating, but by the reaction of the kids you would think that it was haunted. You see, the kids don’t like to go upstairs by themselves and if we are upstairs, they don’t like to go downstairs. It’s a little easier during the day. I think that they forget, and they’ll run up to their room, get something and come down like it was no big deal. But when the sun starts to go down and they need something upstairs, it’s easier to not have it than to go up there alone.
This whole thing is so perplexing to me, I just can’t figure it out. Is it that they are physically scared that something will happen to them? We’ve reminded them multiple times that the house is safe. Daddy and I are here to protect you. When we are inside the house you don’t have to be afraid of venturing to another room by yourself. But this logic doesn’t always work – I’ve seen them wait in line to use the downstairs bathroom rather than go upstairs!
Or is it that we spend so little time together during the day that they don’t want to be separated from us for even a minute? I think that is my working mother guilt talking. They do like spending time with us, but I don’t think that is the root of this issue.
Is it the darkness? What is it about walking into a dark room that can make even the most secure person feel just a little bit anxious? It’s the feeling you get when you are unable to see what is around you. It’s that split second of the unknown. We have been conditioned to search for answers so that we spend as little time as possible in that unknown space. Many people avoid the unknown, the darkness, because leaving the known, the light, is too uncomfortable. Is this where it starts, by not being able to go upstairs alone? Are my children destined for a life of being scared to explore the unknown?
The shoe is now on the other foot and I am the one that is making a big deal out of something small. All of a sudden, I’ve projected a lot of adult feelings on two little ones, who literally don’t like dark rooms because they are dark rooms. Today I will be thankful that they still want to be in the same room with us. The time will come all too fast when they’re locked in their room and never come downstairs……I better be careful what I wish for.
As I expected, my daughter now spends most of her time in her room, only coming out for meals and occasional conversation. My son too is usually locked away in the game room shouting and cheering online with his friends.
I also couldn’t have predicted we would spend more time in our home in the last year, than we had in the last five years combined. My family has now voluntarily explored every inch of this house, in search of peace and distance to break up the long days of togetherness. The darkness is no longer scary, instead it’s a welcome hiding place in solitude.
The last twelve months have felt a lot like walking into a dark room.
We’ve been uncomfortable.
We’ve felt anxious.
We’ve been unable to leave the dark room and go back into the light, where things are predictable and easy to see.
We’ve had to accept and embrace the unknown.
In my original post, I was worried my kids would be scared to explore the unknown. Now, I think they have a new appreciation. They’ve seen firsthand, life is unpredictable. There is no way to know what will happen, but we can’t let that stop us. We need to stay flexible, adjust and move forward the best we can.
It can be overwhelming (for all of us). Connection is the key. We need to keep reaching out. We need to keep asking for help. If you, or your kids, are in need of support, please reach out to a friend, family member or comment on this post. There are resources available to help you, you don’t have to do this alone. As Ram Dass once said, “We are all just walking each other home”.
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Photo by Aleksey Kuprikov from Pexels
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.