Sometimes Our Dreams Are Bigger Than Our Bodies

19 Oct

y dear Son,

Five minutes ago I was lying next to you on your top bunk. Tonight was long and packed with more fun than a 4-year-old can handle. You were asleep before your head hit the pillow, and I laid there next to you for some time just listening to the sweet little boy snores of a stuffy nose left over from a deep cry after a heartbreaking defeat. Tucked under your Batman sheets, Jellycat safe under your arm, the innocent baby look on your sleeping face – the one your big sister has grown out of – I looked at you and all I wanted you to know while you dreamed was how proud I am of you.

Sometimes our dreams are bigger than our bodies.

You and your sister were so amazing on the sling-jumper. Your mother and I couldn’t believe how fearless you both were. You strapped right in and went for it, while your mother and I held down every over-protective parenting instinct we have. Sure, your sister went incredibly high, but you – you figured out how to flip all by yourself. Your sister couldn’t even do that, and she’s 6! I bet you were the only 4-year-old at the entire festival even big enough to go on that thing, let alone to flip backwards. You were Superman. You were fearless. You were so brave.

And bless your sweet heart, when your mom and sister found us later that evening and your sister was bursting at the seams to tell us how she climbed all the way to the top of the rock-wall by herself, your first instinct was to tell her “Wow. Good job!” Naturally your second instinct was to get to the top of that rock-wall all by yourself too. So off we went to wait in line, your sister for the second time, with all the enthusiasm and expectations of success in the world.

Of course your sister went up before you, and by the time you got strapped into the harness and clipped onto the rope, she was already half way up. You tried, son. You tried so hard. It was dark, and cold, and damp from the heavy fog. But you still tried – four, five, six times. And when your sister made it back down after reaching the top a second time, you tried one last time. You made it so far, son; so far above my head I couldn’t even help you from where I was standing.

But rock-walls aren’t built for four-year-olds, and it was dark, and cold, and damp from the heavy fog. I saw it on your face the moment you realized you weren’t going to make it to the top tonight. I felt it too, buddy – right in the pit of my heart. I wanted you to make it to the top just as bad as you did. You did everything you could to hold in the tears on your way back down, chin quivering, eyes filling up. But it was already late, and when you finally made it into my arms you couldn’t hold in the disappointment any more. Sometimes dads are there to help you get up on that rock-wall, and sometimes dads are there to let you cry it out when you don’t make it to the top.

Sometimes our dreams are bigger than our bodies.

After a long night of games and food and fun I carried you, my big little boy, home in my arms while you let out all your disappointment on my shoulder. But halfway home you toughened up and decided that next year was going to be different. You told me that between now and then you and I were going to practice the rock-wall together, over and over, until you could do it all by yourself. Because next year you’re going to be a kindergartener, and next year you’re going to make it all the way to the top of that rock-wall. Other than the red eyes and a few deep, shaky breaths, the kind you get after a good, hard cry, there were no signs of tears by the time we made it home.

Teeth brushed, pajamas on, we snuggled under the covers of your bed and closed our eyes to imagine what it would be like at the top of the rock-wall next year. You were asleep before you could tell me about the view up there.

Sleep well my son. Dream big dreams. Some of them we’ll realize together. Some you’ll have to do on your own. But know in your heart how proud I am of you, how brave you are, and how much… how so incredibly much I love you.

I’ll see you tomorrow.


4 Responses to “Sometimes Our Dreams Are Bigger Than Our Bodies”

  1. Anonymous October 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    Oy ! Water works are turned on.

  2. Anonymous October 29, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    This was so beautiful.

  3. pauladwalsh February 2, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

    That was really beautiful.

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