We were running late for school yesterday morning, and in the spirit of Ramadan, I was trying to bite my tongue from screaming my head off at the girls.
“Pleeeease go put your socks on, so I can help you with your shoes. NOW. Right.now.please! We’re late!!!” I begged.
The girls scattered off, while I finished stuffing their lunch box with the last of their sides.
Then, Rania comes running to me, TERRIFIED, breathing hard, and stutters –
“Mommy – there’s someone scary in my room.”
I stopped dead in my tracks. Oh no she didn’t.
Here’s the thing. I grew up with the best of the 90s horror flicks. The ones that both made you jump and shriek with terror in the movie theater, along with haunt your nightmares for months. And the one most important take-away from that life experience was this:
When a kid says they saw something scary, YOU BELIEVE THEM.
The calm and rational adult I am, 20 years later, debated whether I should grab the car keys and bolt, or put on a brave face and ease my daughters fears. After all, there isn’t really anything there. Right?
I chose the latter, but kept hearing a nagging voice in my head reminding me that the overly-brave person who goes poking around in the movie is always the first to die.
Stay calm, Naureen.
As we neared the girls’ room, I crossed my legs scissor style, because let’s be real, I am so freaking scared at this point that I’m about to pee my pants. I took a deep breath, and then slowly peeked into the room.
I did a second quick sweep with my eyes before slowly creeping in and whispering to Rania, “Where did you see the scary someone?”
She replied softly, voice quivering again, “In the mirror.”
Fan-freaking-tastic. Of all the damn scary people in the world, it HAD to be someone in the mirror! All those years of birthday and slumber parties where we would turn the lights off in the bathroom, stand in front of the mirror, and try to say Bloody Mary three times popped into my head.
No no no, I do NOT want to open the vanity area door which connects to the girls closet. I don’t want to look in the mirror. I am not risking my life for a pair of socks! Forget the bloody socks! Lets just put on our shoes and head to school!
But, of course, she wasn’t going to have that. You can’t wear shoes without socks for school, mom. So, I drew in a deep shaky breath and braced myself for the reflection of someone…something unknown. I pulled open the double doors to the bathroom sink area, fixed my eyes on the mirror, and then let out a small shriek of horror, causing Rania to start screaming too.
Oh, wait. Stop. No. That’s just me. It’s just me in the mirror. Jeez. I did NOT realize how scary I look in the mornings! Yikes for my poor hubs.
Anyway, I stared hard at the mirror, wondering if someone was going to materialize behind me. But at this point I was ten notches calmer and so relieved, so I turned to Rania with confidence and firmly said, “There’s no one here.”
She clearly didn’t believe me. She kept looking around fearfully, and that’s when I heard it.
Not the sound I was expecting. And then, from behind the vanity lights, out came a giant wasp.
Suddenly Rania is screaming at the top of her lungs, “Someone scaryyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!”
I started laughing. Harder than normal purely because I was so relieved!! Thank God! Now on an ordinary day, this would be enough to send me running through the house, screaming for my husband. But after the thorough scare my daughter gave me this morning, I felt like a brave warrior.
I grabbed a towel and swatted it down in one swift and confident move. And then stood there beaming, waiting for victorious music to play in the background.
“See Raano, it’s just a bug. Nothing to be scared of. You’re safe now.” I said, matter of factly.
She smiled, visibly relieved.
In case you’re wondering, we found a nice pair of socks, everyone piled into the minivan and somehow we still made it on time to school, with one minute to spare. So all’s well that ends well. But most importantly, here’s the lesson/reflection for the day:
Teach your children the difference between “someone scary” and a damn bug.