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In my dreams...

Highly commendedBy Rachel Wright

Traces of sun creep round the curtains as night slips away heralding a new day. Unfamiliar footsteps grow in the corridor. My eyes open in unison with the door creaking ajar. Rising, I rest awkwardly on my elbow to see my son walk in. Tall and straight he heads towards me with his short, thick brown hair and familiar smile. I tremble as my heart pounds in response to his embrace. His hand touches my skin, warm and soft. I withdraw to gaze into deep blue eyes as a smile monopolises my face.

We connect.

I see him and he sees me.

His lips form the word “Mummy" but the message is unable to penetrate like an out of tune radio. I'm woken to hear whining on a baby monitor standing to attention on my chest of drawers. Groggy with sleep I creep along the corridor following the noise. Banished from reality; words, sight and steps are held captive in my dreams.

My son’s brain prevents him from seeing, walking or calling my name. With each step the memories of dreaming falls away to lie decaying on the floor.

His groaning and whining calls my name.

He is shouting, ‘Mummy’.

Close enough to feel body heat I lean in and whisper,

“Come on, let me turn you over so you can go back to sleep.”

Lifting thin, limp legs I sweep my son over to face me. Manipulating his body I hem him in, securing limbs between padded supports and pillows.

I wait.

My face rests by his ear as my hand soothes his shoulder. The responding arching and moaning asserts a firm resistance to sleep. Maternal instinct tells me this is going to take some time while fatigue and my cold feet hanker for a hasty reprieve. Within minutes I disregard good parenting for warmth and climb under the duvet. Excited giggles demonstrate approval as our frames begin to relax and sink into a pressure relieving mattress. 

"Come on, let's go to sleep now,” I hush.

His head inches forward, seeking out the comfort of hands. Fingers begin to dance against lips as I hear the gentle sucking that preludes slumber.

"Good morning. Did you have a sneaky Mummy-cuddle in bed last night?"

“You got into my bed. My hip was sore. Moving me helped."

“Oh and I thought you just wanted a cuddle.”

“I like cuddles…What day is it?"

“Monday.”

"Is it assembly?"

"I'm not sure. Why?”

"I don't like it."

“You don’t like assembly? Why, because it scares you?”

“Yes.”

“What's scary? Is it the clapping, the singing, the people?”

“I don’t like it all.”

"Your teacher said you weren't as scared in assembly.”

“I don’t scream now but I don’t like it. It echoes like shopping. I don’t like shopping.”

“Daddy thinks shopping is a nightmare too, but why don't you enjoy it?”

“I don’t know the sounds.”

"The world is scary and confusing but you can trust me. Even when life is scary and doesn’t make sense I will always try to protect you as best I can. I know sometimes that is very hard to see.”

A small furrowed brow indicates thinking.

“Don’t you believe me?” I ask. “I love you. I won't leave you. Even when you don’t understand what is happening I can see things that you can’t.”

“I get scared and want to listen to music.”

"I know but sometimes it’s good to enjoy what’s around you.”

“I like music. It makes me feel safe."

“It might make you feel safe but it’s your friends and family caring for you that keep you safe. You can’t always have your music”

“Why not?”

“Listening to your music means you miss out."

“But music makes me happy. I’m no good at anything.”

"That's not true. You are my wonderful little boy. You are unique and make this world…you make my world a better place.”

“What?”

“You do. The things you can’t do aren't important.”

Another quizzical look is directed straight into my eyes. I kiss a soft round cheek and whisper so close I can feel warm breath on my lips.

“You love, have relationships and make people smile. I’m so very sorry it is hard and scary. I don’t know how this happened to you, I wish I could make it better,” our eye contact breaks.

“Look at me,” I gently raise his face. “The truth is, even with all you can't do, you shine brightly. People are changed when they meet you. I've been so very changed by you. I don't understand it and it scares me but I'm trying to trust God, the way I'm asking you to trust me.”

“Mummy.”

“Yes?”

“You need to wake up.”

“Why?”

“I need the toilet and the only reason we are talking like this is because you are dreaming again.”

“Really? Just five more minutes, please. I love talking to you while you look at me.”

Traces of sun creep round the curtains as night slips away heralding a new day. The creased and handsome face of my son greets my eyes and he begins to groan.

"Good morning. Did you have a sneaky Mummy-cuddle in bed last night?” I chirp.

“Bu bu,” reply the pursed lips opposite as a grin streaks across his face.

“Ok, do you need a wee? I’ll get you the commode.”

“Mmmm bu,” is the smiled reply.

I lumber out of bed, my feet slapping on the cold hard wood flooring before I lift my son’s pained, stiff body onto the toilet. Haphazardly he raises his head.

“Good morning my lovely boy,” I react with a kiss.

Moments later the returning smack of my son’s lips fills my ears and heart.

“I love you too. Let me get your medications and I will tell you about today.”


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