God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gramma, I'm Scared

Sunday night was earthquake time here in Southern California. I didn't feel it. Ken thought he did. Casey did. It awoke him and brought him scurrying down the stairs. He was scared, of course.

Ken took him back to his bed, told him that he would be OK, that he didn't need to be frightened, tucked the covers in and came back down. We figured that was it--the moment was over--all was well. We were wrong. We forgot what being ten is like when fear shows up.

An hour and a half later, at 10:30, Casey was back down. He hadn't been able to sleep as he had been laying in bed awaiting the disaster to come.

This was not good as he had very little sleep over the weekend. Friday he had gone to the Padre game with the church youth group and didn't get home until 11:30--seems the win was celebrated with fireworks. Then, Saturday night there was a camp out at the Little League field and some very wonderful friends who knew Ken and I weren't going invited Casey to go with them. How could we say no to this opportunity for fun?

Casey does not function without sleep and by Sunday night he had gone all weekend with virtually none. Knowing that he had school in the morning with a math test the very first thing, I was not happy that he was still awake and so failed to be sympathetic with his fears. My one concession was to take him back up the stairs and let him go to sleep in our bed--which he did immediately. When you are ten, there is comfort being in gramma and papa's big bed. It is almost like having arms around you.

Later in the night, as he was back in his bed and I was ready for sleep in mine, I thought about his fears and finally understood. The only earthquakes he has known are the ones on TV--China and Italy. He has seen buildings collapse and towns virtually disappear. He has heard the reports of thousands dead and has seen hundreds of caskets stretched out, covered with flowers and tears. No wonder he was scared out of sleep.

Suddenly, I wanted to wake him up and hold him and comfort him and tell him I understood. But, of course, I didn't as he needed to sleep.

We let him sleep in the morning and took him to school late. I had the chance to talk with him about his fears and explain that in Southern California there are building codes and what he has seen won't happen here--that he doesn't need to be so afraid and, most of all, that we are here to take care of him and keep him safe and hold him.

I had been right about his fears. All he could visualize and relate to was L'Aquila--in his beloved Italy. No wonder he could not sleep and needed not to be alone in bed. Next time I will be wiser.

And...he got 100% on his test--the only one in class to do so. Maybe going to school late has its bonus?


barb cabot said...

You always tug at my heart strings with stories such as this. It's easy for adults to say everything will be okay and then realize later that children may need more than that to comfort them. You always come through with the realization of there being more to it than that Jane. Wanting to wake him up after you realized that is so heartwarming. I can relate.

Jane said...

Thanks, Barb. And hugs to you.

Rebecca said...

Oh, poor Casey. That just kills me. The fears of a 6 and 9-year-old aren't mine (although most of my fears are ABOUT them), and sometimes I forget that they are just as valid as mine. I know I have brushed them off in the past. Thanks for the nudge.

Anonymous said...

You're a good grandma :)

Trekcapri said...

Hi Jane, I'm sorry that Casey was frightened by the earthquake. You are a wonderful grandmother to him in understanding his fears and providing the comfort he needed. Wonderful story! Thank you for sharing.

Jane said...

Rebecca, what a nice thought that I've nudged you. I love that when it happens to me--sort of an "a-ha" moment.

Maryann and Kathy, thanks for the affirmation. It's easy to be a good grandma to a child like Casey.

nancyhol said...

Jane, that is such a heartwarming story. I say heartwarming because of your realization of how Casey was feeling.

He is such a sensitive young man, and you and Ken are wonderful, loving grandparents to him.

girasoli said...

As someone that is pretty freaked out by earthquakes, I certainly understand.

Casey is very lucky to have such wonderful grandparents taking good care of him. I probably would not have thought of explaining the differences of the building codes.

Glad he did well on his test :) AND glad the recent earthquake in California did not do any major damage.

Jane said...

Nancy and Susan--thank you for the affirmations--it feels nice. God gives us the choice of grasping the unexpected in our lives and enjoying them or being grumpy and complaining. I don't like grumpy.