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October 2011

Up all night

P1020629I haven't been able to watch a scary movie in a very long time.  When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I went to see 'House of 1000 Corpses' and that was it.  The End.  No more scary movies for me.  I remember covering up my belly with my arms during the extra spooky parts just in case the baby could see out of my belly button.  Now, I just can't stomach them at all. 

Let me clarify what I mean by "scary."  Zombies, werewolves, vampires?  No, they don't scare me.   Zombies aren't real.  Even though Twilight has made me kinda secretly want werewolves and vampires to exist, they don't.  What scares me the most are movies about person on person violence and/or anything having to do with a breach in the welfare of a child.  They scare me because they could happen. 

Last night my daughter woke me up screaming, "Mommy!"  She doesn't really call me Mommy too much anymore.  She's dropped the Y for the most part.  So this burst of toddlerism that came through sent me running stumbling into her room.  There she was in a pool of sweat - scared.  She had a dream about someone taping a note to her back that read "You've been warned." 

I didn't know what to say.

Normally my kids' nightmares consist of things I think are silly: Extra big marshmallows, ghosts, falling into a volcano...  I know they're not silly things to my kids, but they're easy for me to fix.  I can say easy words to calm them...  it'll be ok...that's never going to happen...you're safe now.

But what could I say to my scared daughter at 2AM about a scary stranger with scary warnings that plague her sleep?  I told her that Daddy & I will always be here to protect her and that we'd never let anything bad happen when we're around.  It was enough for her to fall back asleep until morning.  But it wasn't enough for me. 

I stayed up thinking of all the scary movies I'd ever seen.  Placing my kids in the same movie situations in my head.  Scaring myself so much that I wanted to take my family and go live in a bubble somewhere.  But that won't do.  

It was my daughter that soothed me this morning.  I told her how I couldn't sleep last night.  She asked me why.  I didn't want to tell her that HER dream scared the bejeezus out of me.  I told her, "Oh, just a bad dream."  So she went back to her Dropped Y vocabulary and said, "Mom, it was just a dream.  Don't worry about it." 

Plain and simple.  The dream was over and my daughter moved on.  So should I.


Out with the old


I was just looking in my attic for our Halloween decorations.  Amongst the metal pumpkin pickin' signs and numerous size 2T costumes, I found my old writing journals.  I had been looking for them for a while.  I was hoping they could give me some inspiration when I'm having a bit of writer's block. 

I sat right down on the plywood and opened up to a page.  This is what I read:


    I burned my eyes in your heart's sun

    Your residual glow tainting everyone

    Leaving me with tainted thoughts

    Giving you a saintly gloss that

        covers up your wicked soul

    Never leaving me as whole

Must've been about an old boyfriend or something.  Was I a lover scorned?  I don't remember.  I kept reading and found numerous dreary song lyrics that I made up.  Did I think I was going to be in a band?  I also don't remember. 

Why don't I remember the details?  It all seems so long ago, my old life.  I was so unhappy once, and I've blocked it all out.  I'm glad for it, too.  Things now are SO different.  Back then, I could've never imagined a life like the one I have now.  I only thought of sadness.  I only dreamed for something better, but I didn't know what "better" really meant.   Looking back feels like recalling a so-so movie I watched once.  One that was OK, but I wouldn't want to watch again. 

Thinking of my life now, it's in 3D Technicolor with Surround Sound.  I'm very grateful.

I know my kids will experience sadness at one time or another.  And I know I can't really do anything to keep it away.  But I CAN stay positive and help them understand that life goes on.  Even after you feel like you're at your worst. Those journals will remind me.  There is ALWAYS a light.  Always.

We'll sleep when we're dead


I find myself eating a lot of potato salad lately.  Mostly because it's in the fridge and available for immediate consumption.  I don't have to prepare it or clean it or cook it.  It's just there in a little container ready to be eaten with either a fork, spoon or whatever utensil (soup ladle)  is closest to my hand.   I don't actually need to be awake to eat it either, which is a major Plus considering I haven't really been sleeping all that much.  My son has suddenly become fully aware that Halloween is coming.  He also realized that along with Halloween comes scary things like skeletons, ghosts, popcorn balls and goblins.  He no longer enjoys his own bed and prolongs his night time ritual with numerous drinks of water, songs, stories, bathroom trips and hugs. 

The other night while I was trying to get a post written for NJ.com, he was crying and yelling down to me from his bedroom. I went up there to try and make him feel better, but I'm not really good at it.  I talk a big game, but when it comes down to it, I'm not good with "feelings".  I'm more of a Pat-Pat-There-There mom.  I was more annoyed that I had to leave my writing to go up there. 

After explaining to him that all the bad dreams about skeleton faces and tornadoes he's having are made up in his brain, I thought I had it under control.  I told him when he's dreaming, he should tell his dreams to go away.  Tell the skeletons to turn into ice cream cones.  Tell the tornadoes to turn into cotton candy.  He seemed OK with it.  He turned to his side and (I thought) he went to sleep.

I went back downstairs and continued with my writing, but I could hear him still talking.  Then he got loud enough so I could make out what he was saying.  Let me tell you, when you hear your little 3 year old son say these words in his little non-R & L pronouncing voice, it levels you:

"Go away bad dweams.  Go away bad dweams.  Go away bad dweams...pwease.  Pwease go away bad dweams." 

I felt like the biggest asshole in the world.  My little man was scared, and I blew it off like his problem was inferior to my writing.  I wanted to punch myself in the face.  Instead, I ran up to his room and just hugged him .  I didn't let go until he let go first.  Then I sang him as many songs as I could and hugged him some more.  He finally told me he was OK and that he was tired enough to go to sleep.  I gave him one more hug and went back downstairs.

He hasn't really slept all that great since then.  So in turn, neither have I.  But it's OK. We don't really need anything else from the Halloween stores, I know how to soothe him a little better and  I've got the potato salad in the fridge.  We'll be OK.  ...Tired.  But OK.