Cathy Zielske
Cathy Zielske's Layered Template No 31

Jesse Edwards' kit: Caught Red Handed: Coming Soon!

On the surface, it sounds like quite an existential thought for a 7 year old boy. But it a pure and simple question that has become part of our nightly bedtime ritual. | During a time when each night held the possibility of horrifying lands filled with man-eating alligators, mon- sters that emerged from slime, and men with “shooters,” I searched for a way to comfort my sweet boy. He dreaded the night, and was afraid of falliing asleep. It seemed unfair and a bit irrational to simply say, “don’t worry, there’s nothing to be afraid of,” because in truth, there was. Jake has a powerful imagination. | Then it came to me: an idea to reach him at his level. | “Jake,” I asked, “what things are real?” He paused, and then started to tick off things that were important and real in his world. “Let’s see, you are real, dad, and my Legos.” “That’s right, I said. My love for you is real. And your books, and your iPod, and your music.” Now he was catching on. “And my friends, and Aunt Lynn and Uncle Gus, my bed, and my Wall E. And mom, love is real. But you can’t touch it.” “True” I said. Do you think your bad dreams are real ?” I asked. “You can’t touch them.” “Hmmm, no. They’re not real,” he responded thoughtfully. “Let’s talk about what’s not real. I don’t think the things in your nightmares are real are they?” I asked. “No - the alligators aren’t” he paused, “and the monsters that come up from the slime next to my bed aren’t real. And the bad guys that hurt us, they aren’t real either. Neither are ghosts, slime or a dead heart in a real live person.” | Now when Jake goes to bed, I sometimes hear him calling from his room. “Mom - I need to have a discussion with you.” If I defer to Michael, he’ll respond, “It’s a between you and me situation, mom.” Then I know. And we discuss his reality again.