November 06, 2009

Sometimes Daddies Get Scared Too

Not so long ago  I scared the dark haired beauty. I had a nightmare and I screamed. Or maybe yelled is a better description, I am not really sure. I can't tell you what it was about because I don't really remember the details very well.

But what I remember is that something terrible was happening. Something very bad was going on and in my dream I was truly frightened. That doesn't happen to me too often. I am like anyone else, I have things that scare me. Lots of things do, but usually they make me nervous.

This was different. This was fear. This was something that reminded me of childhood fear. Dark and mysterious and out of my control. It came for me. It did something. I don't know what, but it was bad.

And so I reacted. I reacted so strongly that I yelled out loud and woke her up. It woke me up too, but it took me a moment to realize it. Took a moment to realize that I was awake and not dreaming. Took me a moment to realize that I was sweating. And in the moment it took for me to wake up I got angry, very angry.

I suspect that it is natural response. So I climbed out of bed and stood silently in the dark, listening. Not quite sure what I was listening for, but had I found it I would have done something bad to it. Fear had been replaced with anger/protective dad time.

And then I heard her calling for me.  "Abba, abba, come here."

So I walked down the hall and found her sitting up in bed. She reached out for me so I took her in my arms and sat down upon the bed and asked her what was wrong.

She put her head against my shoulder and in a soft voice told me that she heard me sound scared. I asked her if she knew what I said. And then she told me no, just that it was daddy's scared voice. I kissed her and told her that I was ok, that it was just a bad dream.

She asked me if I got scared a lot by my dreams and I said no. Then I asked her if she remembered my ever doing that before. She said no again. I hugged her tightly and told her that sometimes daddies get scared too, but that it was ok.

And then before I could say anything else she fell back asleep. I laid her down upon her bed and then sat on the floor. I sat and listened to her breathe and tried to remember what it was that had upset me. I never did figure it out.

After a while I got up and walked into the family room and collapsed upon the couch. For a moment I played around with logging on. I knew that I'd find the usual crew of electronic companions on Facebook and Twitter. Knew that I could blog about it and chose not to because I wanted to try and get some more sleep.

It took a while to unwind, but eventually I did. And when morning came I woke up on the couch feeling a bit tired, but far more relaxed than I had been the night before.

She doesn't remember our conversation or if she does, she hasn't mentioned it. That is ok with me. For now I am happy to let it go. As long as it doesn't make her nervous.I don't mind her knowing that sometimes daddies get scared too.


RJW said...

Once daughter was born I became a very light sleeper. I heard her throwing up one night while she was still an infant; it was a good thing I did.

It's what dad's do!

And, apropos to you previous post, we also discipline our kids, they look for guidelines.

bernthis said...

This was a beautiful post. I think its important for daughters to know that parents get scared too

Jack said...


I haven't slept the same since becoming a father. Although I must admit that on nights that the kids are gone I sleep more deeply.


Thanks. I try to be honest with the kids. I don't want to scare them, but I don't want them to be completely oblivious to the world either.