I Wonder What You Dream About.

That is, when you sleep hard enough to dream.

I lay next to you some nights, when mom has to finish up her day’s work, or when I just want to be the one to put you to bed. I lay next to you and I watch you; your busy little hands, your twitching eyes – seemingly bouncing all over – but also taking note of every finite detail you see.

And I wonder.

Do you see and experience the world the same way when you dream?

Is everything so noticeable when you’re in dream sleep? Can you spot those details like you can when you’re awake?

Are you able to quiet the incoming noise when you control the world you’re experiencing? Can you filter the obnoxious lights and reflections that make you anxious in public places?

Do you even dream of public places?

Are your dreams an even more disturbing version of the world you experience every day? Is that why it’s sometimes impossible for you to stay asleep?

I used to have a recurring nightmare that I was drowning in a car.
I would dream that I was driving a car near water – usually a river – and for whatever reason the car would end up in the water.
I could feel the pressure change in the car.
I could feel the cold water as it poured into the vehicle, and I worked feverishly to get out.
I could feel as the frigid water stole my breath, and the car fills, and I am rendered breathless. It’s then I would usually wake up, gasping for air.

Every sensation in those dreams is so vivid, so real to me – that I can remember them even years after they stopped.

Do you dream the same way?

When you mutter in your sleep, is it because you’re experiencing something that makes you anxious?

When you wake up in the middle of the night, calling for your mom, and then refuse to fall asleep again – is it because something in your dreams is worse than reality?

Do you stim in your dreams?

I have a hard time with how much I wish I could spend just a minute inside your mind. To see how beautiful and detailed it is; to see what happens when your anxiety peaks.
I long so badly to just catch a glimpse of how the world we walk through every day appears to you. I’d give anything to see how much you know that you aren’t yet able to express.

And as I lay here, watching you drift off, I am beset by wonder about what you’re like in your dreams.

I wonder what version of me is present in your dreams.

I wonder if you hear my voice, and if it brings you calm, or if it frightens you.

I lay here, and I wonder all the things. And I realize, now, that I should just enjoy that you’re sleeping – and leave you to rest.

But I still wonder.

Sweet dreams, young prince.

Love, Dad

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