I wish I could remember the sentence I heard that night. I woke smiling even before the alarm went off. “He spoke! Oh, he spoke.”
My baby was three years and three months old and I’d known the incessant chatter of other kids his age for years. I was one of the last in my circle to have had a baby, and had been babysitting for years.
I’d not yet heard a full sentence come from my son’s lips. “Ah” meant “water,” and “hah,” with a taptaptap on his chest meant “helicopter.”
Both words were equal priorities for then-him. As was telling his friends about the game in his head when he couldn’t tell them about the game in his head.
That morning, I adjusted my pillow nest and held onto the a few minutes of remembering hearing my little boy’s voice.
He’d spoken. The feeling lingered as I poured coffee, checked emails, and went to wake him. It wasn’t until I was helping him dress that I realized the sentence I’d heard come from his lips had happened in my dream.
My son was three years and three months. He wasn’t talking.
He was three years and three months and was saying “ah” for water and “hah” for helicopter. He was so worried about school. I was so worried about him.
EEEP look at his baby face, his hands, so pudgy. His hair, so blonde compared to now. This was his first day of school. A full year before I let him take the bus.
When I was eight, I had a recurring dream, night after night. Eventually, I knew it was a dream, and came to think during it “next, you’ll jump into the water and realize that you can breathe within it.”
“The bad guy’s going to find you and then it’s time to wake up.” Same dream, every night. Over and over. Those dreams were the ones that taught me that dying in a dream doesn’t mean that you’ll die In Real. That in a dream, you can breathe underwater. That in a dream, you can breathe through life.
My pregnancy dreams weren’t of a baby but of a blonde toddler who smelled of earth and mischief. Asking to go outside, and not waiting for my reply. A Calvin and Hobbes boy who slayed snowmen in the driveway. I imagined him chattering the way that I had at his age.
When I was eight, I fought monsters and witches and sometimes lost. And yet, I lived. Turns out, when you die in a dream, you don’t really die, even though it makes sense that you would.
Tonight, my son lies beside me, clenching my hand. He’s almost asleep but his nose. Gawd, his nose, and allergies.
He sits up. “I need a tissue,” he says. I hand him one and he blows his nose. I toss it into the bin beside the bed overflowing to the floor. Allergy season. He lies back down, twitches, and I know he’s dreaming of flying and of his stuffed Spidey moving to get closer to Snowman.
I recently sewed Snowman’s arm back on for the second time.
I lie next to my boy, whispering about magic and stuffed animals, talking about how, like the Velveteen Rabbit, when they’re loved, they become real. We lie in his bed, head to head.
I whisper “here, feel,” and hold his hand to Snowman’s chest. “Can you feel that?” I ask. “He looks at me, eyes wide. “I feel something,” he says.
“That’s the magic,” I said. “They love you back.”
“I feel it,” he says. “I feel the love. And their strength.”
I think but don’t say that I hope he always does.
A friend of mine died when I was in my 20’s. One night, I said a prayer and held onto a bear that reminded me of him but was given to me by somebody else. “I’m here,” the bear said.
“I know,” I said. “Are you okay?”
“Better than,” he said. And I believed him.
“I need another tissue,” my little boy snuffles. He’s mostly asleep. The tissue box is empty. I dare not get up because as everybody knows, an almost sleeping six-year-old is pretty much a sleeping six-year-old. “Here,” I say. I take his booger between my fingers and reach for an already-used tissue not wanting to get up. I wonder at how I’m fine with collecting boogers at bedtime between my fingers. He holds Spidey to his chest and tells me they’re climbing. “I can see,” I say.
When my son was two, I stayed until he went to sleep. It was easier that way. Before leaving his room, I’d take his hand, holding mine, lift his arm up, and drop it to see whether it flopped or stayed. Flopped meant that I assumed he was dreaming, and I left.
On Sunday, my husband was home and let me sleep in. My boy came to my room. I told him it was Sunday, to find Daddy. He lifted my arm to see whether it would flop or not, and I realized how much he knew but couldn’t say back then and today.
He brings me Snowman and Spidey, tucks them under my arms “for company,” and finds his dad.
Once, I had a dream about my little boy talking and was heartbroken when I realized it was a dream. Today, he’s talking and saying that he needs to go to the doctor for a broken mouth because he knows that he’s supposed to say “really?” instead of “weawy?” He knows. He has a dream. His are mostly about climbing walls and Snowman moving while he’s sleeping.
His dreams are also about not feeling dumb at school and knowing what a friend pizza is made of. I think that his and my dreams are aligned this month.
I’m wearing a birthday hat as I type this, because this boy of mine brought it to me for working. I’m getting ready to go upstairs, listen to what’s happening in Minecraft, and know that I’ll know when he’s dreaming without having to flop his arm.
I’ll know that we both dream about flying and that while sleeping, will find comfort in the arms of magical Spidey.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday Post. This week’s sentence is”While I was sleeping, I dreamt…”
Your hosts are me (Kristi from FindingNinee) and this week’s sentence thinker-upper, Deirdre of Deirdre’s Daily Dose.