“Enter Sandman” came on when I was driving home tonight. I think of the video when I hear it, and in particular the tractor trailer crashing into the child’s bed, because I always thought it was a powerful and effective metaphor for a nightmare.
Did you have a lot of bad dreams as a child? Do you have them now? I still have them once in a while—three or four times a year, say—but as often as not, I can’t describe what’s scary about them. I’m feeling fear when I wake up, but when I go back through the narrative I can’t find what made me feel that way.
I think I had a lot more bad dreams as a child than our boys do. Seems like they have them about as often as I do now, and when they do, it’s about even odds we’ll even hear about it before the morning. Moreover, we only hear that a boy had one—not a blow by blow of what happened in it, as I delivered at their age.
You know, they’re not afraid of the dark either. That’s good. There is an entire class of parental comfort from which we’ve been largely exempted.
Maybe a factor is that we’ve never allowed the existence of ghosts in conversation with them. They’re just not real, and that’s that. There are normal explanations. I grew up with 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey, and it seems like I had lots of friends with interests in hauntings and such. So it was a good while before I had any finality about it.
I do remember one time Nathan asking me to look in his closet for him at bedtime. He was four or so. I said “why do you want me to look in there?” He said “to make sure nothing’s in there.” I said “I know nothing’s in there, buddy. I don’t have to look in there to be sure.” I kissed him good night and left. And that might have been the only time we ever talked about it. I want to say I read that in a book or an article. It was definitely effective.