My son woke up this morning and said, “ Mama, I didn’t have any bad dreams.” For the past two weeks my son has been having nightmares, he wakes in the middle of the night and comes to my room saying, “Mama the shadow is there again.” Some nights I climb up his ladder of the bunk bed and snuggle in with him to fight off his “shadow” fear. Some nights I simply say, “All you have to do is tell the shadow to leave,” or “Jackson will chase the shadow away, along with all the other dogs in the neighborhood.” Yesterday he came home with a shiny red sequin from camp, he told me that he was going to give the shadow this small shiny object as a present. I was struck with total awe from our conversation, he was so straightforward and sincere. He continued to say, “I think he will like this, and then he will sleep and let me sleep.”
When he went to bed that night he forgot the sequin on the banister! I saw it a couple of minutes after he was tucked into bed and contemplated the importance of it. I grabbed it and ran upstairs to him I realized how important it was for him to have this “gift”, he was still awake. “Thank you Mama, I’m going to put it right here for the shadow.” He quickly fell asleep. There was no waking in the middle of the night!
The next morning he came into my room and said to me, “Mama I didn’t have any bad dreams and the Shadow…” he quickly ran back to his room, climbed up the ladder and looked for the gift, which was still next to his pillow. He picked up the sequin and showed it to me. “I guess the Shadow didn’t need my gift, but I’m going to keep it here for him just in case.” I stood there in total awe.
I don’t know how to teach my child how not to be afraid, I don’t know how to teach anyone how not to be afraid. BUT — I do know how to care and love. I do know how to share and show. I do know how to be present and listen. Perhaps by being consistent with him he will keep finding his way and coming up with brilliant ways to live his life, on his terms. My son is not me, and not even an extension of me, he is his own unique being. I am left speechless a lot of the time with him, I am blown away by his thoughts and actions. I don’t know much about mothering, or parenting I just try to be a decent human who cares. It’s not always easy. I mean for the most part I find being a mother incredibly challenging, NO, it’s F***ing HARD.
My son keeps teaching me how to be a better person, he teaches me how to stop and listen, two lessons I was never taught. I grew up going, hiding and running. When I finally realized that I was only running from myself did I realize that life was so generous and forgiving. I can only hope that I pass along clear messages to my son and that he can always share with me about his shadows and dreams.
Until next time. Be good. Be Straightforward!