I stood Lewis’s bed on its end with the intention of dragging it in to the hallway but managed to get it so wedged in the door frame that I’ve had to Google ‘proctologist’ to find a way to remove it without causing any damage.
Here Comes The Wolf
There were no muscle relaxant lubricants on hand, however, so after counselling the frame, by adopting a low tone and saying ‘okay, you might feel a little prick’, I shouldered the bed out of it and laid it down and then searched the house for an Allen Key, resigned to the fact that I’d have to get my ‘handy-man’ on.
I’ve put my ‘Melancholy Playlist’ on repeat because I’m feeling melancholy – though I’m not sure why. It’s not because Tyson has been having night terrors – screaming down the hall for the safety of Mummy and Daddy’s bedroom – or that Lewis has been suffering nightmares as well. That’s the reason Reservoir Mum and I have decided to move them in to the same bedroom; so they can keep each other company… but my low mood is attached to something a tad deeper and less clear.
The plan is to move Lewis and Tyson’s bed into Maki’s old room, to move Maki’s cot into Lewis’s old room, and to move the truckload of communal toys – which are currently in Maki’s room – into Tyson’s old room and if I can get all that done without Allen-Keying myself in the eyeball I’ll be amazed and will celebrate my heroics tonight by drinking red wine as I listen to Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat and transcribing my interview with Julia Morris.
It’s as I’m walking with an armful of toy pieces (which are completely unrelated to each other ) to Tyson’s old room, that A Good Heart by Feargal Sharkey comes on, and for some reason I get a visual memory of a recurrent nightmare from my own childhood…
It’s night-time and I’m lying on the backseat as we’re driving along a city street. The overhead lights are pulsing by rhythmically and I’m in that dull, pre-sleep state reserved for children who are feeling safe and secure in the presence of their parents. Suddenly, the sound of the car’s engine is gone and there’s a hush around me. When I glance at Mum and Dad in the front I feel the first ripple of fear; they’re too still. It’s as if they’re hiding something from me. I sit up and look down the long empty street behind us and see, in the distance, two red eyes glowing in the dark and gaining on us rapidly. Within seconds the head of a wolf with its teeth bared morphs from the darkness. When I lean back for my parents they turn and lurch towards me – their eyes the same red as the wolf’s, their lips bunched into a snarl – and push me from the car. I fall to the road, screaming for them, as the wolf leaps to claim me.
Unfortunately Maki’s cot won’t penetrate the doorframe either and it’s as I’m on my hands and knees cursing and searching for the Allen Key that I wonder about the origin of that nightmare. Despite having a great childhood where I felt loved and safe, being rejected by my parents was a common theme in my early night terrors, so I can only assume that the fear is rooted in something biological and hormonal and beyond my parent’s ability to relieve.
Love My Way by The Psychedelic Furs is playing as I reassemble Maki’s cot in Lewis’s old room and this rearranging, and the effort involved, is like putting my knotted emotion through a sieve. I feel I’m on the verge of understanding myself a little better.
When we were pregnant with Archie – our first child – Reservoir Mum’s Nana said, ‘Now you’ll know what it means to worry,’ and although I patted her condescendingly on the shoulder at the time and asked her to knit me a beanie and later mimicked her voice as I repeated her statement to Reservoir Mum, I get it now. And she was right.
I can run down the hall towards Tyson – as he runs down the hall for me – and carry him to the safety or our bed, and I can go to Lewis in the middle of the night and brush the hair from his forehead until he falls back to a more peaceful sleep, but the nightmares are a suffering I cannot take away from them, or prevent. I’ll move things around, as I’m doing now, and try different things and run to them wherever they are for the rest of their lives but no matter how hard I try, my children will encounter suffering in its various forms.
With Maki’s cot erect again in the corner of his new room and my Allen Key heroics just about finished I wander to the living room, listening to Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time, and look across our backyard to the expanse of the public reserve behind out property.
I was feeling helpless. That’s what it was. And from that came the dullness of despair.
My children will continue to encounter a suffering that is all theirs and no matter how close we are to each other there will always be a distance I just can’t bridge. That’s what Nana was talking about; there’s only so far we can carry our children before they have to rely on their own devices. That’s what it means to worry.
This has been a cathartic experience and walking my way through the melancholy haze has allowed for perspective. The wolf in my nightmare is still after me. I’ve felt its eyes on me throughout my life and the image of it appearing from the darkness is strongest whenever I’m taking life for granted or feeling disconnected. It reminds me that I’m running out of time; that I have to adjust my focus and that there’s no one can who can do that for me.
I feel good about the changes down the hall and I know the boys will love it when they get home to see it. Tonight Lewis and Tyson will be jumping in to bed, sharing a room together for the first time, and they’ll be happy. Reservoir Mum and I will share in that and the wolf and the worry will retreat back into the darkness. For a while.
And hey, I didn’t gouge my eyes out with the Allen Key. And you know what that means! Tonight I’ll be transcribing the Julia Morris interview with red wine, Bronski Beat, and further dramatics!