As I sat here this morning around 5:50 a.m. reading up on the great happenings in our world, I heard a sound from one of the bedrooms. I waited before responding to get confirmation that I truly heard something. "Mooommmy!" said the sweet troubled voice not too loudly to awake her brother.
I got up from my chair and tiptoed down the hall as she again gently yelled, "Moooommmmeeeeeeeeee!" I responded in kind, "shhhhhhhhhhhhh," gently so as not to cause her brother to stir. It was too early for them both to be awake. As I got to the room, I could hear some sniffling but I chose to pretend I was approaching a happy child who just opened her eyes a bit too soon on this rainy morning. I climbed into the bed and nestled close up to her face and I said, "hey baby, why are you awake so soon, you should still be sleeping." She stayed silent, and then let out another sniffle. Something was obviously wrong. I felt her shaking....
In the gentlest, concerned voice, I said to her, "Are you upset? Is something bothering you?" She answered, "yes," but offering no other words to justify her doldrums. I asked her, "what's the matter, why are you crying?" She responded with a voice clearly sounding like something very disheartening had happened saying, "I can't tell you, It's very bad."
Her lamenting quickly made me ask, "did you have a bad dream?" She said, "yes." I wanted very much to know what she dreamt about so that I could help her resolve this sorrow. I asked her if she wanted to talk about the dream and she said she did not because it was very bad. As a mother I can say that hearing a 6 and 3/4 year old say, "it was very bad," made me wonder, how bad could it be?
I really wanted her to get passed this moment, but I realized that I had to guide her in the right direction. I told her that maybe it would help if she told me about the dream instead of keeping it to herself where it may continue to haunt her indefinitely. Many times, we keep things inside and they just fester and get the best of us for no reason. Again, she said, "no, I don't want to, it's very bad."
At this point, I am thinking the worse. What could she have dreamt about? I asked her, "was the dream about me?" She said, "yes," and she added, "it was about me, you and Miles, and it was so bad. I don't want to talk about it." Recently, this is how she wants to handle things that truly disturb her, she just wants to not deal with it. I see such an approach leading to bottled up anxiety which will in turn create worse problems.
I asked her if something happened to us in the dream. She answered, "yes." Oh my! At this point, there was no way I could allow her to not share her entire anguish with me because I now became worried about the depth of the "bad thing," that was housed in her brain while she slumbered and still now while she was awake. As I laid on the bed with her, in the dark room, I started to get a bit choked up, but I never let on to her. Again I softheartedly encouraged her that it would help her considerably if she would tell me about the dream so that I could help her to feel better.
Finally she opened up and she told me about the nightmare that had her so sorrowful. This is what she told me: "Mommy, it was sooooo bad. You and Miles were together....(sniffle sniffle)...and you played Rock Band and had a good time with each other....(sniffle sniffle)...and when I asked for a turn...(sniffle sniffle) ...you both said "NO!" And you just left and no one wanted to let me do anything!" Her sniffles turned into loud sobs.
Whew! What a sense of relief that took over my mind and body! No one died! I hugged her tightly and reassured her that if the three of us are together, we will do things together. I reminded her that we love her dearly and would never do anything mean like that to her. I also told her that she should always want to talk to me about anything that bothers her so we can fix it together.
It's amazing that such a dream can have such a dramatic effect on someone and in this case it's a child. However, it's much of the same thing that we do as children and as adults, and that is to react to things that happen in our lives with extreme emotion, emotion that is developed out of our conceptions. Our beliefs guide us to think the worse things at times when we are experiencing "issues" in our lives. We create fears that are truly not justified and merely demons that only reside in our own minds.
My daughter has been very emotional in recent weeks, expressing a lot of dissatisfaction with various things, particularly she wants us .... to always be "us." She wants to be included in everything. She seems to be mistaking the fact that we all need a sense of independence with thoughts that she is being excluded from certain things. We will get passed this as she will be 7 in less than a month, and I am certain that she will get over this as she matures.
Just in case you are wondering, right after I reassured her that we would never be so mean to her, my daughter quickly shed her sadness and became cheerful. Later on when her brother woke up, she shared all the details of her dream with him with a new found confidence that she would surely be ok.....