At 3 a.m., sleep and I abruptly part company…

I am not one to frequently delve in the meaning of my dreams or nightmares.  There have been times, however, when waking up from a dream that is vivid, I find that it did mean something.  TGG was a little over two years old when I dreamt that my aunt had said “wake up, child, your boy has a very high fever!”  In a panic, I sat up in bed, ran to TGG and found that, yes, indeed, he was burning up.  That he had been perfectly fine and healthy all day and as I put him to bed was a factor in my decision to check on him.  That my aunt -recently deceased- had been so earnest in this dream was what propelled me out of bed.  So, as a general rule, my aunt in a dream means “GO!”

I have, from time to time, dreamed that J can speak clearly and eloquently.  I never remember what he has said, but I remember that he has spoken at length and quite sincerely.  I wake from these dreams happy, but there is an undercurrent of “darn it, it was just a dream” that lingers for hours afterwards.

Last night I was awakened by a horrible vision.  Well, horrible to me.  In my dream we had left the house and returned to find that Zelda the Hellion Cat had been tearing up some plants, and the kitchen faucet was running in a slow dribble.  As I turned, I saw J walk out of his room, and I suddenly remembered that he was there, alone in the house, and had been left sleeping.  This, by the way, would NEVER happen in real life.  J is never left alone.  The next thing I noticed was that he was terribly upset and seemed exhausted and somewhat “out of it.”  And then I saw the blood streaming down the side of his face.  J walked towards me, weaving slightly and crying, and then he dropped to the floor on his knees and started banging his head against the tile…

And I woke up.

Sobbing.

Trembling.

I was skewered with guilt.

How could I, even in dreams, left J unsupervised?

I was afraid, I confess, to fall asleep again lest I pick up where the dream had left off.  The sadness and fear in J’s face were too much for me to take.  Dada, who usually sleeps through my hot flashes, my middle-of-the-night roams through the house, my trips to the bathroom, my I-can’t-sleep-so-I’ll-read-for-a-while moments.  My reaction to this dream was, I suppose, more than any of those things have elicited and he ended up sitting with me and hugging me while I shook and cried.

Yes, I’ve dreamed of “neurotypical” J; I’ve dreamed of eloquently verbal J.  I never remember the details of those dreams, even though I do remember that they took place and that J was everything I imagine he would have been in an alternate reality.  I guess I don’t remember the minutiae of those dreams because I have no real-world reference for them.  This dream, with its horrible image of a desperate, sad, scared J having hurt himself because -I suppose- he woke up to find himself alone, has images from the real world attached to it…we remember all too well when J was desperate, sad, scared and hurting himself.  We remember all of it so clearly that we would go to any lengths to prevent it from happening again.

Maybe it’s because J’s 18th birthday is approaching and we have the legal web to untangle.  I guess, somewhere deep inside, I’m worried that something will go wrong and J will end up unprotected?  Untethered?  Unattended?  I don’t know, but it’s obviously working on my inner peace…

It was comforting to find J happily eating a grilled sandwich in the kitchen.  He was ready to go to school.  He was humming and smiling as he said GOOD MORNING.  I went up to him and held his face in my hands before kissing his nose; I needed to be sure his forehead wasn’t harmed, that there was no fear in his eyes.  The problem with J is that if I do this long enough (looking at him with the concerned, loving look of a mother who’s had a nightmare,) he starts feeling like I’m overwhelming him…and so he, lovingly and firmly, hugged me and pointed me towards my coffee cup.  Yes, yes, woman…now leave me alone.  I have places to go, people to see…

There’s a facial expression that J makes that is not only immensely cute but also tremendously joyful.  He sort of lifts his face to one side, and he smiles with his lips and his eyes, looking up and to the side…and then the smile widens and you see teeth.  His eyebrows then sort of lift and J issues a soft hum that evolves into a giggle.  This expression possibly tops J’s arched-brow-with-knowing-half-smile in my Top Ten J’s Facial Expressions Countdown.  We don’t know what prompts either one of these, and we just relish them when they happen.  These are the expressions that, to me, are like Nutella on toast…a delicious luxury that one wishes one could have more frequently.  At the time of the Great Crisis of 2010, these expressions were absent, and that is why -even in my dreams- I worry about self-injury that stems from all those feelings he had then.

Every afternoon, when J gets home from school, he takes down BUS and BACKPACK from the PECS board and puts up the PECS for what he wants to do.  More and more we see the Wii, the couch, the TV in the living room, and we see the HUG PECS.  Sometimes we see TICKLE.  I try to oblige, but I let him determine when he wants to hang out with me, and for how long.  Today I might put up the HUG myself.  I want J to know (eye-rolls or no) that I’m here, and will be for as long as I am able…

Yeah, I’m silly…get over it!

 

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