I run very fast on my merry-go-round in my dreams.

Jan 26 2012

“I run very fast on my merry-go-round in my dreams.”
Cai Woolsey, age 5

“MOM!”

“MOM!”

“MomMomMomMomMOM!”

His cry echoes through the house.

Seriously? I think as I lug myself out of bed to go to my preschool baby. I can tell by his tone that he’s not distressed, so I’m less motivated than usual to come as commanded. It’s the middle of the night. I just Want. To. Sleep.

I shuffle into his room, and I sit down on the corner of his bed, scraping the back of my heel on the metal bedframe that’s jutting out ever-so-slightly past the ill-fitting box spring. I remember I meant to fix that.

Cai is sitting straight up as though pulled suddenly to life by a puppet master. I put my hand on the back of his head at the top of his neck, and I cradle it as I lay my forehead against his.

I do this to communicate that I love him. And that I’m very tired. It’s my loving ploy for sympathy, and it never, ever works.

I whisper, “What do you need, baby? You’re supposed to be A. Sleep.”

I don’t know why I can’t casually say the word “asleep” to my kids in the middle of the night. I insist on making it two words, as though separating the syllables will force them to bend to my will.

Fall. A. Sleep. 

I make sure my eyes are just a little too wide and a lot too crazy because, even though they can’t actually see my expression in the dull green glow of the nightlight, I believe that putting kids back to sleep in the middle of the night requires method acting. I immerse myself in my character. Frazzled, exhausted mama who uses the words A and Sleep with a hitch of a pause in between them. I don’t, after all, want my kids to feel like I cheated them out of a world class performance when it’s within my power to deliver one.

Cai ignores my admonishment. It’s method acting for the child, too, I guess.

And then he delivers his message.

“MOM!” He stage whispers, hot breath on my face. “MOM, guess what? I run very fast on my merry-go-round in my dreams.

Cai, despite the hour and his awaking only moments before, is full of excitement. He’s SO PROUD.

And I can’t help but think that I run very fast on MY merry-go-round, too. And not always in my dreams. I run very fast on my merry-go-round of life. And sometimes that dizzy, panicky run wakes me up in the middle of the night. But usually not in the good, I just ran really FAST and THEREFORE I am AWESOME kind of a way. Which is really very shortsighted of me.

I think that sometimes angels from Heaven whisper to our babies while they’re sleeping. Messages for them. And messages for their mommies.

I know of no other way to explain the wisdom of the child who breathes life into his mama in the middle of the night with his divine vision.

“I run very fast on my merry-go-round in my dreams.”

He didn’t know, not completely, what I meant when I whispered back to him, “Oh, baby. Thank you for telling me. Me, too. And isn’t it FUN?