From the time he could speak Trystan would spin intriguing tales. He had such a vivid imaginary world that he would become angry with us for calling it imaginary. That was ok – for the most part. Except he had a whole other family there! LOL It got a little awkward sometimes.
Trystan’s imaginary world is so vivid and important to him that when he was little and had not had enough time to ‘’day dream’’ he would cry. “I miss my other family”. It was confusing, and heart breaking, and I admit, I was slightly concerned. He had real grief for those people, and I could not console him. He needed time to ‘go there’.
As Trystan has grown, his devotion to the creativity and ongoing development of that magical internal space has not waned. Unfortunately, he does not always have the ability to pull himself back, or stay connected to the word around him. This can cause problems at school, and most definitely contributes to his problems with sleep. His body will settle but his mind is driven to create. In the busy world of today we call this distracted ADD. As his mother I see him as rare child. I think he has a very special gift.
We live in the world, and Trystan wants to thrive, so we have chosen to follow the path and introduce some tools to help him succeed at school and sleep. In his case we needed to include some medication. We have followed his wishes and continue to make him the leader in these decisions. We also try to balance it all with a heavy dose of freedom to just BE. Today I want to talk about that part. Who he is without interference. My ‘dreamer’.
Trystan will sit, happily for hours. In fact – he NEEDS to. While all the world is hustling and bustling, my son sits. He travels into his own mind and picks up where he left off. He plunges himself into a most beautiful dimension. He has been creating this world bit by bit – every day – his entire life. It is a complex place, a sanctuary of sorts, and with each submersion it grows, and he delves deeper. He is constantly adding on, evolving ideas, creating events, playing out strategies. Entire lives are lived. Characters are born, grow, develop their own personalities, fight battles. On and on it goes. When we go for walks or hikes Trystan will often find a place to sit for a few minutes – or longer if we let him. He needs a little space and quiet. He prefers we not listen in or interrupt. He sits, and listens, and feels. He calls it “earth linking’’. He describes it as trying to hear and feel the story of the land. He wants to connect with all that has happened there and all the creatures who have passed through the space before us. The first time he explained this to me he was about 7. My jawed dropped. My eyes welled with tears. What a deep and beautiful way to view the world. NOT just view it – but to have a relationship with the earth! I knew then, as I still do, that I have an obligation to shelter this flame.
When Trystan plays with his lego, or whatever little toy he is interested in, he draws them into a play world that has been growing an evolving for several years as well. He has an elaborate structure built on the desk in his room. There is a place for everything, a function. To me it looks like a random mess. For a while I would press him to clean it up, tone it down. In time I have come to realise that would be equal to commanding an author to toss their jot notes before finishing their novel. It’s needed. They aren’t finished yet. Everything is linked you see. It all matters.
If you ask him, Trystan will tell you he is daydreaming. Sometimes he will say ‘’Mommy, I need to go have some time to daydream” . In fact when we finally found some medication to help him sleep better his only complaint was that he was not getting enough daydreaming time before he fell asleep and he missed it. (We actually adjusted the routine to give him a little time). To me ‘dreaming’ feels like the wrong description. Dreaming connotes the experience of staring blankly into space allowing your mind to wander aimlessly. Trystan isn’t doing that. He is creating, exploring and developing wondrously elaborate worlds. There are characters and journey’s and landscapes. It has direction and structure and depth. It’s magic. There must be a better word for that than daydreaming.
Recently a boy at school asked Trystan what his hobby was and he said ‘’daydreaming’’. All the kids laughed and told him “that is for babies’’. He was hurt by this and came home feeling sullen. When we discussed it my heart ached. I was sad that his feelings had been hurt – but I understood why the other kids would laugh. It’s a surprising answer. They don’t understand. They don’t likely experience this vast imaginative world. If they do – perhaps other real world things have captured their interest and over taken. Trystan has remained dedicated to his alter world – at a time when most kids his age are turning to sports, lego, and even (heaven help us – school crushes! LOL). This gift of internal voyaging is a rare privilege with which my son has been graced. We talked about using a different term to explain it – and about trying not to be hurt by these reactions. We talked about how important this is to him. What a gift he has. It is a privilege. But just like all the super heros in the comics – there are struggles to manage in exchange for the gift.
Trystan enjoys his quiet time, and does not feel lost when he finds himself alone, because it’s a chance to dream. He does not need every minute of every day to be filled for him. In fact he needs down time. Sometimes it is hard for him to find space and quiet when he needs it. At school, large gatherings it can be hard on him. On the other hand when he does find it – he is rarely lonesome.
My son connects with the world around him – deeply – and then uses his imagination to deepen and expand on that connection, bringing elements into his own creative world!! WOW!! WOW!! While the rest of us are seeking to learn and practice mindfulness – it’s his way of being. He does not need to ‘practice’. He lives this relationship to the earth and his own mind. This is incredible, but can be heavy and difficult for such a young boy. He feels everything. His empathy is powerful and it can feel like too much. Ah – but how this will serve him in years to come!
My son – is not just a daydreamer – he is a seer, a feeler, a creator. He is whimsical and wise and creative to a level I have yet to be able to define. He notices details, like colour and texture and soft sounds. He picks up on subtle changes in his environment and is curious about everything. He cares, deeply about people and the environment – there is no end to the ways he can choose to share this gift with the world. For now our job is to allow it to serve him and guard against those discouraging moments. He needs to know he is not silly and his ‘hobby’ is not lacking worth. As the mother of this child it is my duty to make space for this part of him that could be crowded out so easily if we don’t pay attention. My son is not a daydreamer. He is a DREAM DEVELOPER – the kind many of us wish we could be – the kind this world needs more of. I am so looking forward to seeing the world unfold through his eyes.