It usually happens between 1-3am, my five year old will stumble into our bedroom with tears in his eyes, sobbing.
“I had a bad dream, can I sleep with you?”
Depending on how deep in our slumber we are, we either escort him back to his room, or allow him to cuddle with us until morning.
He freaked the fuck out last night when I brought him back to his room.
“NO! I’M SCARED! NO! NO!”
[Note- Before I go any further, it's scary as a parent when you have to put your kid to sleep, or in their bed when they are this terrified. You start thinking maybe they know something that you don't...and can probably see ghosts. Meanwhile, you grew up to be a boring, unimaginable, parent. What if my son is Haley Joel?]
It bothered me, and I couldn’t sleep afterward. It made me consider his priorities in life, and what affects him. He is a kid, so his problems are most likely in this order-
- Ample amount of Juice in the fridge.
- Will I pee my pants today? Will it be on Purpose?
- Pillow Pets.
- I want two different toys, but daddy says I can only get one.
- What does this plastic thing taste like?
- Quick, someone look at how far I can tug my wiener while I’m in the bath.
- …and the fucking dark.
My son is clueless about paying a mortgage, holding a job, Obama-care, Israel/Palestinian conflict, Rick Santorum existing, etc…
He knows one fear- a dark room with only one nightlight, and a cracked closet door.
I kept thinking about his level of need at these moments. It’s a full-blown panic attack. This is his crisis, and only Mom and Dad, ‘the darkness warriors’ can fight it.
“Um, Mommy, I know you and Daddy are wrestling right now, but can I sleep with you?”
No matter what age, we all are trying to sleep through the night in our own way.
It just varies in degree as you get older. We all get out of the house, and then immediately have some metaphorical nightlight to keep us at bay. Whether that light is a good job, or a nice apartment, new car, going to school, etc.
No matter how good our secure, nightlight is though, sometimes we wake up in the middle of the night, rubbing our eyes, half-asleep, scared and we just need some help getting put back to bed. Getting back on our feet.
“Capitol One? Um, my dental bill is $700 and I need some money at %11.5 APR to fix it. I also think I peed a little, will you change my sheets?
I know my parents have had me wake them up plenty of times in life-
“Mom? Dad? Um, I had a bad dream, and I couldn’t pay my cell phone on time, can you loan me the money? I also need a glass of water. No, not that cup, the one shaped like the lion. No, the blue one.”
Who could forget when your car breaks down-
“AAA? I’m on the corner of Pyramid and McCarran with a flat, can you get me? I’ll be wearing the Spongebob pajamas, oh, and when the driver comes, can he sing me a lullaby while he fixes my flat? It helps pump it up faster.”
Sometimes, my girlfriend and I don’t let him sleep in our bed. We march him straight back to his room and make him tough it out. You have to grow up sometime, son. Mommy and Daddy can’t help you with everything.
- Your account will overdraw.
- You won’t get that job you wanted so badly.
- Chlamydia. Just Chlamydia.
I’m working hard so I don’t have to wake anyone up anymore. I am getting tired of nightmares, and it feels nice to sleep through the night. My life choices are a nice dose of Sominex lately, and I want to keep it that way…
…so that I don’t eventually end up waking my son up at 3am to sleep in his bed one day.