The other night I had a nightmare. The three of us were hiking in a slot canyon, our path was filled with square boulders ten feet high. We were carefully making our way through towards a sandy section when Alder tries to climb down on his own, he falls. I am paralyzed I can not do anything, Kevin jumps down to where his body is and picks him up. It is obvious that his neck is broken and there is nothing we can do. I am filled with the need to try to get to him. To find that Kevin is wrong that he is okay, but I am stuck on top of the boulder and I know he is dead.

I wake up screaming. So sure that it is real that I am mistaken to think that there is a little boy next to me. But there I am with my son’s breath on my face and my husband’s hand reaching out to me. I recount my dream; releasing it and settle back to sleep. As my body relaxes I feel Alder’s reach around me and he says “Mama I will keep you safe.

Is this who we are?  The mother who needs to be held by the child? He was born so recently to this world yet somehow he approaches nothing as new.  He reaches out to me sometimes, holding me when I am quiet then turns laughs and runs off to play. He leaves me breathless so many times, I have fallen so deeply in love with him.

A few days later I am baking as he plays in the yard. Occasionally I pop outside to check on him but generally I can here him from the kitchen. I find him in the tent telling a beach ball a story he stays there for an hour. Eventually he comes in for juice “Mama this is a good yard” he tells me and heads back out to find a bulldozer. My orange partially zested, I edge near the window to watch him silently as he plays. I am stunned by my love for him my fear from the dream returns and it takes everything in me not to rush out there just to be close to him. Instead I turn on NPR and fill my head with news blocking out my fears.

Now a week after the dream I still see it’s images in my head. When these thoughts come to me I feel the need to rush to where ever Alder is and hold him. These thoughts paralyze me, so I write this here hoping to wrestle it from my mind.

At Play