I don’t recall a lot of my childhood when I was Davey’s age. Based upon who I am now, I can assume that I was quite the imaginative and precocious little girl. I enjoyed playing “pretend” and creating fantasies and stories. I liked to think my life was different than what it was, not to say that my childhood was by any measure unsatisfactory.
Davey has a lot of my imagination in him. He loves to create stories, to play pretend with his cars and action figures. He loves to pretend that he may be living another life. This is all normal, as is what happened two nights ago.
His daddy always puts him to bed. Some nights they read stories, other nights my husband creates stories. And then there are some nights, when Davey creates his own story or perhaps alternate universe. This happened a couple of nights ago and I found myself sitting in his room eager to hear his ruminations and anecdotes.
For quite some time, Davey has displayed a concern about monsters. I use the word “concern” because it doesn’t seem to be a fear in that he’s crippled from being able to function for fear of monsters coming to get him. No, he seems to have an active inquiry about monsters, who they are, what they do, where they’re from. All of that jazz. We allow him to have a night light on and a flashlight in his room. I’m not sure if that stems from warding off the monsters, but it does help him sleep better.
His fascination with monsters has now morphed into something that really causes me to giggle. After his daddy put him to bed, I came into his room and laid down alongside of him. He asked me if Daddy had told me about the monsters in his room. I said his daddy had mentioned something along those lines, but I really wanted to hear from Davey about the monsters. With a gleam in his eyes and excitement in his voice, he burst from the covers of the bed and began pointing to his door where he stated that Johnny was standing there. Then he pointed to his tent and told me Lonny was in there, and then he pointed to the head of his bed and stated that Wonny was sitting there.
“Who are all of these?” I asked him.
“These are the good monsters, Mommy. They are my friends. They beat up the mean monsters and protect me,” he said with a smile.
So, I sat in the bed and looked around the room, saying the names of the good monsters while pointing in their directions. When I made it to Lonny, who was to be perched at the top of the bed, Davey laughed at me because Lonny had moved and was playing a trick on me. Then he became all serious and said to me, “Mommy, can’t you see him?”
No, I couldn’t see Lonny. He was not a part of my imagination. Did I tell Davey that? No. I just played along with him.
The whole scenario made me smile. I’ve heard stories about children creating imaginary friends and protectors. Davey had one briefly over the summer, but the monsters just fascinated me even more. My child’s mind had developed these monsters. Listening to him, he had given them all personalities and appearances. It was phenomenal and it made me think back to my childhood.
I was never really afraid of the dark, but I could never go to sleep without my closet being closed. At almost 40, I’m still the same way with a closet door being open in the middle of the night. In my mind, it just invites in all the unsavories.
What I do recall, is that on the nights when I awoke from my nightmares as a child, I always thought my daddy was sitting at my window, looking out into the night world, keeping watch and protecting me over the evil nasties.
As I got older, I would think back to those nights when I was convinced my daddy was watching over me. In reality, it was nothing more than the side of a toy chest, with its curves, round and long. Set against the backdrop of the streetlight from outside, it always gave me the vision of a man’s profile…my daddy’s profile and I always knew he was protecting me.
Funny what a mind can do, especially that of a child’s.