“I had a nightmare last night,” says Declan.

“‘I’m sorry about that.  I have nightmares, too. ” I say.

“You, Mommy? What do you have nightmares about?” He leans in for the answer. 

“Running out of money. Being sick.  Not being able to pay the bills…” 

“That’s not a nightmare,” he says. 

“That’s not a nightmare?  What is it?”  I want to know.  

“Oh, those are just bad things that happen.  They don’t mean anything.  Nightmares are about  monsters.  It’s only a nightmare if a monster chases you in your dreams.  Do you dream about monsters?”

“Maybe those things are big people’s monsters…they’re what we’re afraid of.” 

“They’re stupid,” he said.  “They’re not monsters, they’re just things…I’ll protect you, Mom, you don’t have to be afraid.” 

“And I’ll protect you from monsters.”

He snuggles close because he knows I’m about to put him back to bed where the monsters might be.

But there are none.  I’ve kept my promise.

Neither one of us, it turns out, has to worry at all.

Photo Credit: JMW Turner, Seamonsters at Sunrise, 1845