The Tour Guide

I woke to his little hand patting me on my back.

“Mama,” he whispered loudly.  “Mama!”

I rolled over.  “What is it, baby?”  It was my seven-year old little fella, Cooter.

“I had a bad dream.”  He climbed up beside me.

I wrapped him up in a big hug.  “It’s okay.  Mama’s got you.  Nothing bad is here.  You’re okay.”

He took a deep breath, sighed, and fell back to sleep almost instantly.

As I listened to his gentle breathing, I wondered–where does a seven-year old get the material to have a bad dream from?  What has happened in his world that could disturb his thoughts enough that he would have bad dreams?

I honestly feel like a tour guide whose tourist has said, “Oh, you know what, I really don’t care for this place you’ve chosen to take us.  The food here really stinks, and the rooms aren’t comfortable, and I am not enjoying myself.  At.  All.”

I mean, I’m leading my little guy on this journey, teaching him, pointing out cool things to see and think about, listening to his questions and trying to answer as best I can, and somewhere, somehow something slipped into his little mind that upset his equilibrium.   And gave him bad dreams.

On my watch.

Just stamp “Failed” on my forehead and put my picture up on a wall labelled “Bad Parents.”


Bless him.  He sure fell back to sleep fast.

But not me.

I wondered if he had dreamed about them taking his cup at the pizza place.  Last night was Guy’s Night Supper, and he and his Daddy had gone to the pizza buffet place to eat.  (The place where he could eat free for the first three years of his life–I am sure they lost money on that deal.)  He ate and ate and of course had to visit the little boys’ room.  His Daddy took him and when they came back, their drinks and plates were gone.

Poor thing.  He was devastated.  He said it was the worst night ever.  (Yes sometimes he has a little bit of the drama in him.)  I expect it had a lot to do with the fact that he loves a coke (all kinds) and since we only rarely have it at home, he intended to get his fill last night.  But then…..cup gone.  Meal over.  Done.

He was all kinds of sad and mad all rolled into one.

Or was it something more serious?  A few days ago we were in the Gomobile, and Cooter was sitting in the very back.  He was looking at his Bible, the one his Sunday night group uses.

“The end of the Bible doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Oh me.  All I could think of is how am I going to have a conversation with my seven-year old about the Book of Revelation when I don’t even understand it myself?

I swallowed hard and braced myself.  “What part in particular, buddy?”

“Well this part about Paul.”  Paul? Okay, good.  I can do Paul.  I think.  “He was in jail, right?  And he loved God, right?”

“Ummm, yes and yes.  You’re right.  Go on.”

“Well he was in jail for telling the people about God, right?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“But Mama, couldn’t God have gotten him out of jail at any time?  I mean, he was telling people about God and Jesus.  Wasn’t that what he was supposed to do?”

Oh my stars.  I was quiet for a moment, taking it all in.  Ummm, could we talk about Revelation now?

I waited too long I guess, because then he asked, “Mama, didn’t Paul die in jail?”

Last night I lay there thinking of all the things I could have said, things I wish I had said, worrying that my limited biblical and religious knowledge is not going to be enough in raising this one.  He thinks a lot and asks a lot of questions.  And they’re not all about when do I think Star Wars VII will come out.

I convinced myself his bad dream stemmed from my lack of comforting answers.  Or at least ones that could give him some peace, some hope.

It was with a tired mind and a weary soul that I awoke this morning.  My little guy crawled out of bed and started getting himself ready for the day.

“You had a bad dream last night, do you remember?”

He shook his head.  “No I didn’t.”

“Well, you said you did.”  I was confused.  Didn’t he?

“Oh wait, yeah, I did.”

I asked him if he wanted to talk about it.  At first he shook his head no.  Then–

“So I was about to eat my lunch and I had a lunch box and then all these ninjas came up and tried to take my lunch and then Shaker [his cousin] came up and started fighting the Ninjas and I helped him and so then it was all okay and we sat down and lunch was good.”

Y’all.  Oh bless it.

And him.

And my exhausted mind.


Well he could have picked that up anywhere.  A Magic Treehouse book.  One of his sister’s favorite shows.  The history book he likes to look at.  Any of those places.  None of which have very much at all to do with me.

*sigh*  Maybe I haven’t failed him as much as I thought.

Although this boy might be the reason I finally wind up at seminary twenty-four years after walking away from the opportunity.  I have a feeling I’m going to need all the help I can get when it comes to discussing his thoughts on theology and trying to answer all of these questions.  I’m starting to wonder if maybe he’s the one leading me on this journey; if he’s actually the tour guide, showing me all there is to see.

Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

Love and sweet dreams to all.


2 thoughts on “The Tour Guide”

  1. It would be too heavy a burden if we mamas are responsible for all bsd thoughts and dreams and actions of our kids. I learned when mine were little that they were their own little people from the moment they were born. It would have been much easier if I could have had that much control of their lives so be responsible for all their bad dreams and negative thoughts. But the fact was that I didn’t have that much control or responsibility. I was there to guide and teach and comfort and learn from and follow and love. It made mothering less of a burden and way more awesome.

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