“You’re safe, kiddo. Calm down. You are safe.” I consoled him as he bawled in my arms. My heart cracked at his suffering but I knew there wasn’t anything more I could do than be his anchor. I kept making cooing noises as he slowly calmed down enough to take deep breaths.
“It was so scary, Pa.” He confessed and though he still had terror in his voice, I felt pride in his attempts to control himself. “I couldn’t find you. I was all alone.”
The words almost made me instantly take back my decision to give him a separate bedroom now that he was six. But even I knew that the lack of a mother figure was no longer a valid excuse for letting him sleep in my bed.
“Bud, what did I say about these nightmares? You must not be afraid to fight them.” I caressed his hair, making a mental note to take him to a barber – and wincing at the chaos of that situation, and continued while staring in his eyes. “They are just dreams, kiddo. Remember that when you wake up, I will be here for you.”
He doesn’t believe in the words but I do know he believes in me. And that is why, I let him return to an unavoidable and unpredictable battlefield.
“Yup, boy. They are just dreams.”