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shelleyI have never considered myself a dreamer. Certainly not in the same league of Lewis Carroll or Stravinsky. I have never really thought about the amount of time I sit around and daydream about scenes of my next book or compact and ultimately lacking in truism stories I make up in my head. I have never sought to find answers in the darkness or even the great epiphanies of times past. It hasn’t even been until recently that I finally begin to question the continual and integral voices that are a part of my daily world.

Maybe I have been naive. But I like to think it is more a matter of being so used to something that the only way I would ever see it is if it was taken away. If you took away the voices inside my head, the voices that bring the dreams and fantasies that make my life, I would notice immediately. They can change octaves, sexes, ages on a daily basis and they are still a norm; but take them away and you will most likely being seeing me posting from the closest mental institution.

My dreams have always been the same. The windows along the wall of my elementary and high school walls were the captive audience of many of my lost moments. While the teachers were trying in vain to interest me in topics I already knew, or in chapters I had already read, I was staring into space visiting foreign countries, being some of the greatest super spies Marvel could ever create and finally, finally finding the friends and closeness I had always been missing.

I have escaped in my dreams long before life gave me reason to escape. I have escaped in my dreams long before I was given glimpses of darkness and days of pure hell. I have escaped into dreams since the moment I was brought into this world and I can almost guarantee that when I leave this world it will be in a vehicle the human world has never seen. It is the way of me. It is the way I am always.

Because it was always my norm it never occurred to me that others were not the exact same. Chalk it up to the normal ego of a five-year old or simply the innocent blindness of life, but it never occurred to me that those walking beside me thought differently. It didn’t ever occur to me that “normal” people didn’t have voices or dreams following them like a bad scent. It didn’t occur to me that “normal” people don’t dream all day and all night to the point that reality looks foreign (and very, very boring).  It just didn’t.

And then I met my son.

I have talked a lot about my son in this blog; more than I have talked about my daughter. There is simply something about my son that keeps me coming back to asking so many questions not only of myself but the world around me. It is my son more than anyone I have ever met that has changed me. Maybe for the better, maybe for the worse. Of all the people in the world, there is only one person that can silence my voices; my son.

Maybe because my son is like me. I see in him that same incredible capacity for looking beyond the mortal world into the realms of dreams that ultimately shape and change the world. I see in him the questions that cannot be answered and the words that have no voice. I see the need to find beauty in the mundane and the story in the art. I see his mind moving, always moving and I am honored when for even a moment he shows me a glimpse.

He is a worrier, my son. He gets that from both his parents. He worries over the little things and the big things; the things that can be controlled and things that the universe simply gives in its own time. He worries about things that make me want to laugh in the sheer impossibility and he worries about the world that he cannot touch.

My son is a fighter. He fights for the disadvantaged, the underdog. He fights for the person that doesn’t have it the easiest. He will take by the hand those that are lonely and dissolute and give them friendship. And he does it naturally as if God made that a trait in him long before I came into his life.

I have spoken often about his brain, his intelligence. His ability to find the answers to questions that no one is asking astonishes me. His ability to stare at a four pane stained glass window for hours trying to figure out the story astonishes me. His ability to understand math, science, history and bring to it his own questions astonishes me.

But I think what most breaks my heart is his dreams. He dreams in a way that few ever do. He dreams in a wide-screen technicolor that is only sold in the highest-end stores. He dreams in stories and characters richly drawn in his imagination. He speaks to them. He laughs with them and he loves them.

To many mothers this may seem like the first sign that a child needs to be seen by that-kind-of doctor. This may be scary to other people who don’t understand that compulsion and the commonality of those dreams. These characters may seem like the devil, the Cerberus of literature, or even the Hitler of history; but to me they are simply friends.

Maybe I am not supposed to encourage it. Maybe I am supposed to ban those voices from my child’s mind in some attempt to conform him to society’s view of perfection. Maybe I am supposed to take him to the doctors so they can diagnose him now of a disease that doesn’t exist in a child. Maybe instead of listening to my child dreams in order to make sure they stay safe I am supposed to shut him down now.

I can’t.

I can’t because there is nothing wrong with me. I can’t because the voices that I hear and the words that I write are not just dreams and fantasies but the life that I love. I can’t because the dreamer that I profess to be loves the man my son is becoming. I want him to hear those stories because when all else fails, they will comfort him. I want him to hear those voices because when all else fails, they will steer him in the right direction. And when all else fails, those voices will give him the salvation that most only find in God himself.

I will always champion my children without denying them the basic right to find their own selves. I will always love my children not for what is convenient but what it is they truly are. And I will always give my children my own dreams when theirs are silent.