Monday, November 25, 2013

The Innocence of a Four Year Old’s Panic Attack

He tore down the stairs, panicked! “WHERE’S DADDY?” Tavin cried. “He just left for work, sweetie,” I said. “NO! I DIDN’T GET TO GIVE HIM LOVIN’S OR SAY GOODBYE,” he burst into full blown anxiety.

I ran, full force up the stairs, grabbed my cell phone and dialed Jared’s cell. “Wherever you are, you need to turn around right now and come back home. Tavin is panicked that you left.” Jared said, “I’m turning around now.”

Fortunately he was only two minutes into his hour commute to work. As I headed back downstairs I noticed Tavin’s  blanket lying on our bed next to my pillow. He must have ran into our room from his nap, and frantically watch from our bedroom window, his daddy pull out of the driveway for work. In his four year old panic attack, he left the one thing he NEVER leaves behind: the comfort of his blankie.

SAM_0917I came back downstairs and told him daddy was coming back to tell him goodbye, so he waited patiently at the window in the dining room. When Jared pulled into the driveway Tavin jumped down and ran to the door. As Jared opened the door, the wind whipped snow around behind him, and the two most precious people in my life clung together for dear life. As Tavin’s head rested on Jared’s shoulder, he quietly sighed, “I love you, daddy.”

That’s all he needed. He just HAD to tell daddy he loved him. He was panicking because he didn’t get the opportunity he has every single day to tell his daddy goodbye with tons of love as he heads off to work. That really upset Tavin; this notion that he didn’t tell Jared, “I love you, daddy.” This one day—this rare moment in time—that he couldn’t give daddy lovin’s really hurt Tavin to the core. His tiny little panic attack was so innocent, real and raw.

How many of us don’t even bother showing our loved ones how much we love them for fear of being “innocent, real and raw”? We don’t want to open ourselves up to that kind of vulnerability. We don’t want anyone to see the soft side of who we are.

Because my husband works so far away, there are nights when he’s not home at his normal time (around 2 AM or so) that I begin to panic that I, too, didn’t give him the lovin’s he deserved. And the vision of my life without him sends me into a full blown anxiety attack. When I hear the car pull into the driveway, my heart stops pounding and I fall fast asleep promising to love this man with all my heart and not be so afraid to show him my love. But when the sun rises in the morning, I’m the same selfish, guarded woman I was before I went to bed.

I don’t know why or when we lose that innocence and become so cynical and hands-off. I just know that watching this tiny person give love so freely, often takes my breath away. He doesn’t even think about it. He just gives love without a care in the world, and he’ll give it to anyone willing to accept it…anyone!

When Jesus told his disciples that unless we were childlike we wouldn’t see the kingdom of Heaven, he wasn’t talking about simply being innocent. Jesus was telling us that we need to run into the arms of our Father without any thoughts of being fully and utterly exposed to our own vulnerability. He was telling us that we need to be fully dependent on our Heavenly Father, at all costs. Jesus wants us to love our Father so much, that if we were out of His presence for one second, we would be in a full blown panic attack.

My faith has been on shaky ground the past week. I have teetered on not being so vulnerable with God and putting up my guard against Him. And just in the knick of time, He shows me love beyond my wildest dreams, and I realized that without His love for me, I would be a lost child, aching for my Daddy.

Lord God, I would be lost without You. I never want to feel the anxiety of not having You with me at all times.

Fun in the Sun


  1. Great blog, Tristine! If we could all just hang onto that innocence! Have a blessed week!

  2. Thanks Lori! I'm sorry I didn't see this comment sooner.