He has a sleep disorder. He sleeps too deeply, for too long. His bladder lets go when he is in these deep sleeps if they last to long. He never dreams. It's exhausting sometimes, dealing with the laundry, and waking him in the night. It's discouraging to go through the same thing night after night. It's discouraging to look for help and find it very expensive or not very helpful at all. I just want someone to tell me what to do for this child, how to help him. No one does. The experts want to be paid first, but we don't have that kind of money. I am feeling my way in the dark, trying to find the path on my own. I want to cry some days. I know more about sleep cycles than I ever thought necessary. My own home has become a lab, a place to experiment with what works, what doesn't. I am the sleep deprived lab tech over seeing the project. I want to sleep. I want him to wake up.
Tonight I kneel at his bedside to check on him. He's still dry. I try to wake him to get him to the bathroom. He will not wake. I know now not to force it if he won't wake right away. He doesn't remember it in the morning. He will sleep walk, and I will teach him to pee in his sleep that way. I shake him, I tickle, I sit him up in bed. He stays asleep. And then, from his sitting position he leans his head against my chest, and curls his body into my lap, head resting on my arm.
For a moment I pretend that he is my baby again as I kiss his forehead and smell his hair. I cradle him as though he is a newborn and rock this boy of mine who is shooting his way toward manhood. For just a minute I let myself just hold him, like I did when he was a baby, and let him sleep against my chest once more. I remember what it was like to have all the answers, to be able to give him everything he needed.
And then I lay him back down on his pillow and walk out to record the time, wiping tears out of the way as I write.