“Can you sleep in my room tonight, Grandpa?”
Little Benny was visiting his Grandparents for the weekend and sleeping in the same spare bedroom at their house he’d slept in since he was in diapers.
“Why do you want me to sleep with you, Benny?” Grandma had already said good night to the seven-year-old, but Benny liked Grandpa to say good night last because he told such good bedtime stories.
“Because a monster might come in the middle of the night and get me.”
“No monster has ever gotten into our house before. Why would you be afraid of that now?”
“I just am. Please Grandpa?”
Grandpa knew Benny far too well not to realize what he was really afraid of.
“Aren’t you really scared because your Mommy and Daddy aren’t together anymore and you want them to be?”
The little boy’s eyes began to tear up and he clutched his stuffed toy giraffe tighter as he nodded “yes”.
Grandpa was sitting on the edge of Benny’s bed and he leaned over more to give his grandson a hug. “I know you’re scared and I want you to know something?”
“I will always love you and I will never go away. Neither will Grandma. We promise.”
“I love you too, Grandpa.”
The older man knew he couldn’t take the uncertainty and pain away from Benny. Divorce is a horrible thing and it’s especially terrible for children, even when the man and woman involved probably shouldn’t have gotten married in the first place.
But it’s too late for all of that. Benny is here and he’s a person who needs and deserves a perfect love in an imperfect world filled with imperfect people, including his parents.
“When you go to sleep, Grandma and I will be sleeping in our bedroom. When you wake up, we’ll still be here.”
“I know.” The boy reached up and hugged his Grandpa again. “I love you.”
As they ended the hug, Grandpa smiled down at Benny. “I love you too. Get some sleep now, okay?”
The man slowly stood, walked to the doorway, and turned off the light. “Sweet dreams, Buddy.”
He walked out leaving the door open just a tiny bit.
There really are monsters in the world and unfortunately for Benny, it was too late. He didn’t have to worry that one would break in to his grandparents’ house. It had already gotten him six months ago when his parents’ divorce was finalized.
Grandpa and Grandma could help keep the monster at bay, but only a little. Benny would have to keep growing and growing and learn to fight that monster himself. Someday, he would succeed in defeating it, but he would always carry the scars of the many battles he would have to fight between now and that day.