May 12, 2011

Dream State

Posted in AMT's Faves, Life's Little Moments tagged , , , , at 9:03 am by autismmommytherapist

The alarm goes off, that damn clarion call to consciousness, and I am abruptly jolted out of a dream that managed to incorporate Conan, dinosaurs, and classmates from high school (not that I’m implying we’re dinosaurs, these are just my DREAMS, people). I toss off my sleep-deprived musings and shuffle to the bathroom, making a quick stop at my bedroom door that’s always slightly ajar so my husband and I can hear Justin should he need us in the night. All is quiet on the western front, and as I prepare myself for the day, running through the twelve things I need to do before my offspring even make it onto their respective busses, the thought hits me.

Oh my God. All is quiet on the western front.

You should know that along with death, taxes, and the imminent broadcasting of a new reality tv show in Jersey, Justin is certain to herald his wakened state to the world well before 6:00 AM every day. Jeff and I take shifts, he taking the middle of the night/wee early hours (this usually involves a trip to the bathroom with Justin followed by hugging, singing and a cajoling back to bed of Kumbaya proportions), and me taking dawn and onwards so my tired spouse can return to slumber. Zachary, thankfully, seems able to sleep through the Apocalypse, so it’s really just the three of us to contend with when the moon salutes us in the sky, and for that I am grateful. Neither I nor my husband is really in full family mode at 3:00 AM. We have our limits.

And usually, when it comes to sleeping in, so does Justin.

Although it’s rare that morning arrives and affords me an unconscious child to spy upon, I’ve still managed to perfect the art of avoiding those creaky floorboards just adjacent to his room, and mastered the technique of turning his doorknob just enough to gain entry to what I like to refer to as his womb with a view. It takes a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to the almost feral darkness we’ve created for him to promote sleep (not just for him, for all of us), and I take care to wait until I can safely avoid the littered landscape of his carpet successfully. I wait silently as my ears acclimate to the soothing sounds of white noise and air purifier, the machines that manage to drown out the cacophony of Justin’s younger brother as he talks his way into the night next door.

And then, I spot him.

His head and feet have made their own attempt at trading places during the course of the night, his torso splayed smack in the center of his mattress so that his body forms an almost perfect half of an “X” under his sheet. Justin’s pillow is dangling precariously from the footboard, straining to safety on the floor below. Somehow he has managed to cocoon himself within every soft piece of linen available to him, from his cousin’s sleeping bag, to the three blankets we provide him both for warmth and comfort. All I can see of him at this moment is his little face inching out of the “fishy throw” created by Grandma. He is completely at peace in his sonambulance, quiet save for a slight snore, a gift provided by those dreaded spring allergies. He is remarkably still.

And I wonder, how I wonder, what he dreams.

I am fully aware of the content of his sibling’s nocturnal wanderings, which invariably involve trains, presents, and bossing us around. I ask Zach about them every morning after he’s completed his lengthy rouse from slumber, and he is happy to regale me with his nighttime reveries, in which he generally presents as the hero. Once, he said he dreamt that Christmas was coming four times this year, and I quickly squashed that hope, grinding it into dust with the heel of pragmatism, as clearly Santa can’t make a trip around the globe each season.

Never too early to inject a little reality into a pre-schooler’s day.

The truth is, I am unlikely to ever know what events and thoughts infuse my eldest son’s dream state. I’m not certain if his musings focus on equine pursuits or popcorn, pretty girls or unlimited computer time. He may never be able to tell me.

Hell, I’m not certain he remembers his dreams at all.

One thing I am certain of however, are my dreams for him. There are those practical ones, which involve a stable as a full-time job, and a safe residence during his adult life. I envision for him a continuation of what I hope he feels is an engaging childhood, and a deep wish that his crush around the corner will never move out of her home. These are, of course, the realistic goals that haunt me daily, and sometimes have a strangle-hold on my dream state as well.

But I have more ethereal wishes too, intangible to touch, yet every bit as compelling as those I can actually see. I dream for him a life in which those who interact with him extend him only their empathy, and kindness. I dream for him a community in which he is viewed as just as human as everyone else, a complete person capable of the full range of human emotion. I dream for him a world in which not only are his gifts utilized to their full potential, but that his presence in it is seen as a benefit to all, not a hindrance to be endured.

My internal clock ticks, and I cease my musings and tiptoe backwards to the door that remains slightly ajar, his stale-sweet breath lingering in the air around me. I will return here soon to cajole him into our universe so that he may greet the day, but for now, I permit him rest. I allow myself one last wish for my eldest, my boy, my heart.

I dream he will always be loved.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful eight-year-old (!) boy!


  1. Cindy said,

    Happy Birthday Justin. Wishing you all that your mother can dream for you.

  2. Robyn said,

    Happy Birthday, Justin!! I love your blog. I wish I could write without breaking out into a cold sweat…

  3. Misifusa said,

    Happy Birthday Justin ~ 8 years old! Wow! May all of your wishes come true…and may all of his! xoxo

  4. Mom said,

    Happy Birthday to the wonderful boy that gave me the best job ever–that of grandma! We all have such dreams for him honey.

  5. Chad said,

    Wow. You got me again. The ethereal wishes paragraph is amazing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: