I am giving my feet a bit of a rest. All that carrying during our hikes last week (Ben, water, lunch, etc) has them feeling a bit rough. So here's a non-running post for anyone out there who does not happen to read the New London Day. My column this month was about our middle child, Simon.
Simon is a mysterious kid. He does not inhabit his age. He’s just six, but sometimes he seems more like twenty, other times perhaps three or four.
He’s quick. He taught himself to read while still in diapers. When I sat him down to explain multiplication one rainy Wednesday afternoon, I found he had beaten me to it. And you should hear him on the piano: his teacher says he swallows songs whole.
But Simon is not and never has been much of a talker. Spoken language, outside of the immediate and concrete world, is a struggle. He has trouble verbalizing his thoughts. I imagine the richness of his inner life simply does not translate. He’d much prefer to show you than tell you.
His communication style can thus feel a bit non-sequitor-ish. He explodes with fully baked ideas seemingly out of nowhere. You have to know him well to follow him sometimes.
Which brings us to last night’s dinner. We were all sitting around the table chatting in the usual way, reporting on our respective days, when Simon chimed in, out of the clear blue sky: “I think a dream catcher could work!”
Following this thread, I quickly backtracked. Simon, I had just started to notice, no longer goes down to the basement by himself, and he wants me to stay in his room while he gets dressed in the mornings.
I was certainly never a solo basement traveler myself as a kid, so I know how this feels.
“Are you scared, Simon?”
“Nothing. I don’t know.”
Of course this dream catcher request cast an obvious new light on the situation. Simon has never mentioned being bothered by his dreams, but clearly he is.
“Are you having bad dreams, Simon?”
“I don’t know. Can we make a dream catcher tomorrow?”
At this point Nell, ever the vigilant big sister, pops into the conversation.
“I have a dream catcher I’m not using. You can have it, Simon.”
She runs upstairs and comes back with a little package haphazardly wrapped in purple construction paper and tosses it to Simon. He unwraps the pink leather dream catcher and his face lights up.
“A dream catcher! Can we go hang it?”
“Yup, right after dinner,” I say. “What do you say to Nell?”
Simon turns to his sister with all the sincerity he can muster and says, “Thank you, Nell!”
It is difficult for Nell to absorb this much gratitude. She hides her head and smiles.
Simon holds the dream catcher by its cord so it spins in front of his face. “My dream catcher will catch the bad dreams and hold the good ones inside my head!”
Ah, yes. I hope with all my heart it’s that simple.
After dinner, Brian and the kids troop upstairs to hang the dream catcher on the wall above Simon’s bed. And all through that particular night, it works like a charm.