haunting nightmares

I heard the voices calling me into the dark. I was scared. Scared out of my mind. My heart was racing but they were calling me to come closer. I had to listen to what they were saying even though I don’t know exactly what they were saying. All the voices were speaking at once. Calling to me. It’s a warm summer night. Fog and darkness in the field. The voices are out there. Calling.

I am just a little kid in my pajamas. Listening. The voices coming closer, then “flying” around me. What do you want? Stop talking at once! If I can listen closely I can heard what they are saying.

Then I am jolted back to reality by my Aunt Marilyn. She has her hand on my shoulder. The voices stop. She walks me back to my bed and tucks me in. Aaahhh, summer memories…

There are my most vivid memories of childhood. Not summers on the lake or riding my bike…but sleep walking. I was plagued with nightmares during my childhood. Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck  paintings on my wall would “come to life”. They would chase me around the house. Voices calling me in the dark.

My oldest daughter suffered from night terrors (or sleep terrors) from the age of about 2 to 4 years of age. She would also sleep walk but it didn’t seem to be the terrifying kind like mine. Mostly she just thought it was time to do something like watch TV or go to school.

The night terrors, though, are a different story. Night terrors are a screaming/crying fit where the child is fast asleep, each one lasting 1-2 minutes. We couldn’t wake her. We just had to ride out the storm. Then, when it was all over, she’d fall fast asleep again and not remember a thing the next morning. Fortunately she outgrew them.

A few weeks ago Parker (at 3 and a half) had her first two night terrors within days of each other. She knows how to put the word “terror” in night terror. She is screaming, “I don’t want to!” over and over while kicking and fighting…something. Truly scary. All we could do is try to keep her from hurting herself (and us) until she woke up. I whispered in her ear a prayer. Lord Jesus, please calm my baby. Praying that would calm her enough to wake her. Although I didn’t have a stopwatch, she seemed to go on for well over two minutes.

In each instance I felt so helpless as a mother. This must have been how my mom felt. Was she worried there was something deeper wrong with her daughter?

The good news is she will outgrow these night terrors, as her big sister did. The bad news is our pediatrician say it’s hereditary. So, it is my fault! (sigh.)

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