“Nanna, Nanna” I heard the little voice at 4 AM on a Sunday Morning. Our grandson had spent the night. I woke Kathy and she sprang from the bed and rushed into the hall to find Noah in the dark.
“What’s the matter” she said kneeling down to his height.
“I had a scary dream,” he replied. His arms wrapped around her neck as he buried his face into her shoulder.
“Well it’s too early to get up; do you want to get into bed with us?”
Noah is five years old, a kindergartner with a delightful, slightly mischievous nature about him. He didn’t hesitate to bound into the bed, a queen size, between myself and Kathy. His wooly sleeper felt warm and soft against my arm. He is a solid little boy who we would have called husky when I was a young person. I suppose the term husky would be politically incorrect in today’s society. It’s a term that causes his mother to bristle up and retort in his defense.
He laid there quietly for a few moments then said; “I can’t sleep.”
I said very quietly but firmly; “Just lie there real still, with your eyes closed and you’ll be back to sleep in no time.”
I was correct; within less than a minute I could tell by his regular rhythmic breathing that he was indeed fast asleep. He jerked every minute or so and shifted his position every few minutes. The bed really is too small for the three of us. I’m a large man, my wife, while petite is still a full size person and this wiggling, poking, jabbing little boy between us just wasn’t going to relent in his sleepy pursuit of bed territory.
Nothing left for me to do but get up, as is my early morning routine, starting about an hour and one half earlier than normal. I’m too early for the Sunday paper so I settled into my recliner in the living room for about an hour before the paper comes. I too was fast asleep in pretty short order.
Noah was born with his umbilical chord wrapped around his neck. It was an emergency caesarean birth. For some time after his birth we were concerned that this may have caused him to be not like other children. He was very speech delayed, but now it’s pretty obvious that he is a very normal little boy. He has a sense of humor that makes him a bright spot in my day when I come home from work and occasionally find him there. I start right away with 20 questions, “Did you go to school today?” “Did you get to play with any of your friends today?” “Did you stay out of trouble today?” “What did you have for lunch today?”
After a while he catches on and starts lying to me on purpose, he exhibits a little wry smile as I look at him with shocked expression. Soon the game is over with: “Stop asking so many questions!” It’s our little game. He endures my needling him, sometimes his Nanna who isn’t as patient is the one that tells me to stop tormenting him.
I am struck by the simple and complete trust that this loved grandchild brings into our lives. Noah unquestioningly trusts his Nanna and me so absolutely and completely at this stage in his life that he isn’t ashamed or afraid to share everything with us. Not that we don’t occasionally have to scold him. But he has no hesitation about sharing anything with us. I’m not so naive as to not know that this will end as he gets older. That fear of retribution will come as age and awareness of the world increases with experience. I’m regretting the day that he feels the need to not show weakness, or hide his occasional misconduct.
I believe we would all live in a better place if we all had the innocence of 5 year olds. We could trust everyone, not be afraid to show our emotions, not hold back and have someone to sleep with and hold on to us when scary dreams wake us up in the middle of the night.
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