|The Vacuum Cleaner of Doom|
Today, I've been cleaning and organizing a bit. My mind often seems to mirror my surroundings. If they're cluttered, so is my brain. When I got out the vacuum cleaner, Will started telling me not to run it. I told him I had to run the vacuum. So he went to his room and closed the door until I finished.
You see, Will is afraid of the vacuum cleaner. Since we live in an apartment building, he's also afraid of the noises upstairs (especially heavy walkers), leaf blowers, and lawn mowers. Reese is also spooked by normal noises. It can get difficult as a parent to explain that there's nothing to be afraid of, while trying to help them overcome their fears.
But then again, I think such fears are part of living. After all, I had (still have from time to time) my own set of fears. I remember my brothers and I would run for cover whenever the dump truck came by for its weekly collection--and we did the same when the street cleaner came 'round.
I can't remember if I was ever afraid of the vacuum cleaner, but the sounds caused by flushing a toilet always terrified me. It almost sounded as if a ghost or demon was ready to reach up and snatch me. The sound was not just unpleasant, it made me fear for my life.
Of course, these things are foolish fears, though I'd be lying if I said I haven't created new things to fear as I've grown older. And some of these new fears are foolish. I know it. Silences when I'm alone. Talking to strangers. Imagining people hiding behind corners and bushes in the evening. Expecting to see ghosts (or burglars) appear behind me when I look in mirrors.
After all these years, I realize I can't just dismiss the fears of another person, because the things that scare children are the things that scare me as well. Foolish as they may seem to others, fear is very real for those who suffer it.
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