I put the kids to bed and plopped down on the living room couch. “Mommmmmmm,” I heard Maddie call from her bedroom. I gathered up some energy and went back up the stairs. That’s when I heard her crying.
“What’s wrong, Maddie?” I asked as I sat on the edge of her bed. “What is it, sweetheart?”
“I can’t get the word cavity out of my head. We learned about it at school today and I can’t stop thinking about it. It means your tooth rots. I don’t want to get a cavity!,” she told me through her sniffles.
We talked at length about cavities. I tried logic and empathy and humor. Nothing worked. Nothing I said stopped her tears from falling. I could see her eyes in the dark room, and they were swollen from crying.
I sat in silence for a moment, trying to decide what to say next. Suddenly, Maddie crawled up into my lap and lay her head on my shoulder. I wrapped my arms around her and hugged her tight. We stayed like that for a long time – hugging, in the silence. Eventually, she said, “Okay, good night, Mommy” and found her way back to her pillow. I kissed her cheek and closed the door softly behind me.
Sometimes words can’t stop the worry. Sometimes what you need is a good cry and a hug from someone who loves you.