I Dream of Falling in Dark Places
Last night I dreamed we were on a cruise ship.
The toddler was running up and down the hallways, having a good time. Then things got quiet. I raced around the ship, looking for him, and came across a crowd standing around the bottom of an escalator. The toddler had fallen between the moving stairs. I knew when I heard his cry issuing from the dark space underneath that he had gotten hurt, maybe badly. I rushed toward him, trying to see, but also terrified to find out.
Thinking about that little cry stops my heart cold even now.
It reminds me of the time last summer he fell through the bars of a little metal car at the playground and smacked his head hard on the way down, landing face first in the mulch. I dove underneath the bars to reach him. I couldn't move fast enough. I knew he was hurt but to tell how badly hurt I had to wrench his little body up from the mulch and out from under the bars. The time it took felt like an eternity. That time still ripples through me.
I felt emotional all day, borderline weepy, full of explosive toddler energy.
I wanted to throw a tantrum over nothing, then let myself be soothed by someone with a soft voice and a soft hand, rubbing my hair and saying, "There, there. You're just tired."
I'm just tired. Tired of always being the one who comforts, the one who handles things.
"Everything is 'no' and 'stop it' with you today," the toddler told me this evening as we climbed the stairs to his bedroom, parroting what I'd said to him an hour earlier.
He wasn't wrong.