While sleeping, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I rolled over to see my daughter, Nee, standing in the faint light of the digital clock that displayed 3:30 a.m.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” I asked.
“I had a bad dream,” she replied. I pulled her close to me and gave her a big hug.
“It’s okay,” I said. “You don’t have to be afraid any more.” I exited the bed, slid into my slippers, and grabbed Nee’s hand. She was still shaking as I led her back upstairs to her bedroom. I squeezed her hand slightly to give her some reassurance.
In her room, I tucked Nee in the bed and kneeled beside her.
“Tell me about the nightmare,” I said.
“I dreamed Mommy was being mean to us,” she said. “And then she turned bad.”
“What do you mean by ‘she turned bad’?” I asked.
“She started putting poisoned hand-sanitizer into our ears,” she said.
“You know Mommy would never do anything like that, right?” I said.
“I know,” Nee said.
“Now go back to sleep, sweetheart,” I said.
“Okay, Daddy,” she replied.
I pulled the sheets over her shoulders and gave her a kiss on the forehead.
“Daddy loves you,” I said.
“I love you too, Daddy,” she said as she curled up under the covers.
When I re-entered my bed, I awakened my wife, KayEm.
“Where have you been?” she asked.
“Nee had a nightmare,” I said. “I took her back upstairs.”
“What was her dream about?” she asked
“You don’t want to know.”
Question: How do you comfort your children when they have nightmares?