The other night we were driving home at sunset. Rather than colors ricocheting off clouds, the sky hung a flat, stained backdrop behind the silhouetted trees. Silas craned his neck to see it each time we passed a cross street, telling me to look. After a few minutes of quiet and tracking the sky, Silas finally said, "The sky is like grapefruit." Pause. "Like the inside of grapefruit."
That is exactly what it looked like.
Then on Wednesday morning, Ben took the morning off and we went to Disneyland. Silas has reached the 40" mark, which according to his Disneyland map (which he keeps in his treasure box) means that he's tall enough for Thunder Mountain Railroad -- a roller coaster. Some of us thought that 40" didn't necessarily indicate readiness. Some of us thought he had his whole life to ride roller coasters and that waiting might not be bad. Some of us were outnumbered. SO, we got in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We decided that I would take him -- perhaps a happy compromise -- I, a little more cautious but fueled by Ben's enthusiasm. So we waited in line, Silas's eyes as big as moons as he leaned to watch the train wheel around a bend with butterflies in his stomach. But YES, he still wanted to go. Reluctantly, I climbed into a train car with him and wrapped my arm around his little body. Immediately, the train entered a tunnel and began climbing. First, I forgot how LOUD roller coasters are. Then, the tunnel became pitch black and there were RED EYES -- if there is anything Silas fears, it is red eyes, and Lord help us, there they were in the first tunnel. Well, it all went downhill from there. Literally too. The ride was fast. Silas was practically lying down in our seat, both arms around my waist, making sounds that I couldn't decipher (not positive). We rattled, roared, shot through dark tunnels, shook, raced around curves, dodged growling, falling rocks -- and finally pulled into the station.
Ben looked at me expectantly, and I shook my head. We both looked at Silas (who, I might add, looked quite composed), looked back at each other, and raised our eyebrows -- What do we do?? I know that children process through story and that people heal from Post Traumatic Stress by talking through traumatic experiences, so I figured our best bet was to keep talking about it. So we did. The red eyes. The tunnels. The shaking, rumbling, roaring, racing. Ben even apologized for sending him. About an hour later, I brought it up again: "Remember when you went on that roller coaster, Silas? What was that like?"
He paused. "It was like being in the mouth of a big scary monster."
... And once again, it was, it was exactly like that.
[The follow up is that we kept talking and talking about it, explaining the eyes were bats that couldn't move, lights on the wall etc etc. And the next thing I knew, Silas was begging to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad the next time we go. We won't.]