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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Flashes of Light

"Oh, GREAT," I muttered to Rob. If there was a sarcasm font, this would be written and bolded in it.

You see, Trey has been attending a camp this week called Extreme Recess. It's a long day- it runs from 9-5. He loves it though. The first day I picked him up early and was instructed to 'please don't pick me up early again.'

The downside is that this camp is positively kicking the child's butt. He is T-I-R-E-D at the end of the day. As in crankapotamous, -can't talk to him for at least an hour after it's over- kind of tired.

After a particularly whiney evening, Rob and I decided the boy needed to go to bed early. He clearly was exhausted, clearly needed rest. We told him he had to be in bed to sleep at 9 PM.

What had me so irritated, then, was that the thunderstorm in the area was rolling in right around 9:30, and Trey still has a fear of thunder in particular and lightning by association. If he was still awake, there was no easy way to get him to sleep.

"I hope Trey's asleep or else he is going to be in our room," I continued as I got up and headed toward the kitchen. I was dead tired myself, as I've been battling a particularly long-lasting insomnia bout.

At exactly that moment I bumped into something warm and furry. It grabbed me and I whirled around and SCREAMED. It was Trey in his flannel robe. I swear I thought I was seeing an apparition. We have very creaky stairs so we always know when our kids are coming up or down. It was like he VAPORIZED there.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I screamed HOLY SHIT! And I'm not sorry.)

"It's storming," he helpfully informed me as I gasped for breath and clutched my heart. "There's thunder and lightning."

I could hear the whine in my voice matching the whine in his. "Yes, it is storming. There's thunder and lightning. But you are fine. You are safe in the house. You know the thunder is just a sound- the sound of hot air and cold air colliding. It isn't going to hurt you."

But it was no use. I could tell that he was freaked out and he wasn't going to be able to go to sleep.

"Just go in your own room and turn on the light and read then," I said in a short tone, "I'm really tired and I want to go to bed."

He went into his room and I went to mine. I got ready for bed, turned on a light, started reading a magazine. I was about ready to nod off when there was a soft knock at the door and Trey appeared. He looked nervous but determined to say his piece.

"With no screen, the rain is hitting my window and it's really loud."

I sighed heavily. This was true but dammit, I'm tired!

"Come on, Trey" I grumbled, "you are almost 13! You've got to get past this. Go tell your Dad about the screen and then just go back to bed. Or go into Kate or Chris' room since they aren't there. They have screens."

He shuffled out, informed his father, collected his various bedtime belongings (alarm clock, night light, pillow, etc) and moved into his sister's room. I laid in bed, stewing.

Come on!  I thought to myself. He's got to move past this.

But as I lay there some more, I pictured him in Kate's room. The big bed, the unfamiliar feel of it, the flashing lighting and rumbling thunder. I pictured him lying there scared, and I couldn't do it.

Yes, he's 12. But he's still a boy.
And he's scared.

He's not going to go off to college afraid of the dark, and lightning and thunder. And if he does, so what? He'll have a room mate and he'll have to deal. But right now he's just a boy and he needs the security I can bring him.

I got up and went into Kate's room. He was just as I imagined him to be- ramrod straight, eyes wide open, scared. I climbed into bed beside him and he curled up against me gratefully.

Yes, I thought to myself, he's still small.
Right now, he is still small.
But time is going fast.. and I held him a little closer.. and he drifted into sleep.

(And I'm not sorry.)

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