So a few weeks back I was still awake at around 11pm and I was idly flipping through the channels on the television as one does. My boys had been in bed for several hours by then and were, I assumed, causing all sorts of havoc in dreamland.
Then the little guy ran into my room, completely silent, on the brink of tears and literally scared stiff. I scooped him up in a bear hug and his little legs and arms stuck out on all sides around me like a scarecrow.
I couldn’t get anything out of him about what woke him up. Was it a bad dream? Was he cold from having kicked the duvet off? Had the dog squeezed into bed with him and taken over? Had he heard the Rand had fallen yet again amidst the feeble mutterings of a presidential buffoon?
He was a very frightened little boy whose heart was pounding in his little chest so heavily that I could almost hear it.
So I held him as tight as I could and told him he was completely safe. I told him he was safe in his bed, in his room and in our home because there’s nothing more fearsome than a Daddy. No terror, real or imagined, can overcome a Daddy in his home.
I told him Daddies are the first and last word in protection. Daddies are the things that the things in bad dreams are afraid of. Daddies are the high walls and moats around little beds. Daddies are the blinding sunshine that scatters the darkness in a room, the sunshine that melts the ice-cold dread underneath a bed, the sunshine that reveals the benign emptiness inside of a cupboard or the quiet garden outside of a dark window. Daddies are the ones that find the source of the strange noise in the middle of the night and simply take care of it – whatever it may be. I told him we are superhuman. I told him we are afraid of nothing.
Except for spiders. Obviously.
This Daddy hates bloody spiders but still always says a little prayer for the spider when he finds one squatting on a wall in the house (like a demon). Then he screws up his courage and immediately swats said spider repeatedly with a rolled up something or another until it is properly dead. He then makes doubly sure he scoops up the entire carcass and disposes of it in a neighbors garden just in case there’s a distraught husband or wife spider out there somewhere that might someday stumble across the body and decide to seek revenge. In that dark future, the trail back to this Daddy must be cold cold cold cold cold. But I digress.
Eventually I managed to settle him down in his bed and he fell asleep again about thirty minutes later, still without saying a word. So, Daddies are in charge of protection but they are not the first port of call for comfort, it has never been thus.
It is a well-known fact that when my children are in pain or scared or tearful or hungry or bored or exhausted to the point of collapse, there really is only one acceptable remedy for them…and it’s a universal constant….Mommy.
There, in black and white.