I’m off today. Not off like, not working. Off like, I’m just not right.
I did my usual morning hub bub. I straightened up, made breakfast, put some clothes on myself and the boys, got Hank off to school. I went upstairs and made the beds. I drank my two cups and coffee and decided to go for a third cup — and now I’m thinking about a fourth. I procrastinated. But despite my usual to do, I’m off today. You see, last night I had the worst dream I have ever had in my entire life. Last night, I dreamt that my children died.
There were a lot of red flags in this dream that should have clued me in to the fact that I was asleep. For example, George Clooney was there. He was dressed in a robe and long beard as if he was playing God in a Monty Python flick. Apparently, he was not out of place — we were on a movie set for some reason. At other times, we were at home, but not our home. We were at my parent’s old house on Casa Solana. Through most of the dream, I was clutching a photo of the boys that does not exist. I won’t tell you how they died, it was worse than you think, even for a dream.
In my dream, I had to tell Jim what had happened. I couldn’t get any words out, until I finally screamed at him, “My children are dead.” At one point, I found Jim crouched in Hank’s room, drunk off his rocker, because his children were gone. But it wasn’t Hank’s room, it was my room, from when I was a teenager. See, that same room that was mine as a child was the room where we set up Hank’s nursery when I lived with my parents after he was born. But in the dream, it was still my room from the 90’s, complete with my day bed and the old dresser and Aunt Lil’s mirror. Again, red flag. WAKE UP.
At one point, I was sitting in the family room, this time of my current home. I was sitting on the floor surrounded by the toys that the boys had not put away. I told Jim, “I know this is a dream, I just need to wake up.” But I wasn’t waking up.
Finally, I turned to Jim and told him I needed to have another baby. “I’m only 35,” I told him. “I can’t go though another 35 years without children.” But, no sooner than I said it, I thought, “I hope I don’t have a girl. I need a boy.”
I finally snapped out of this nightmare when Jim crawled out of bed, grumpy as usual, and staggered into the bathroom. I shot upright in bed and quite literally ran to Hank’s room. I didn’t just gently touch him, I actually yanked his blankets off of him.
“Mommy,” he said, still half in slumber. “Why did you do that?”
Now, keep in mind that Hank rarely calls me “Mommy.” I am just Mom. That one word tugged at my heart. I bent over and tucked him back in, kissing his head. Then I went down to George’s room, gave him a little hug without waking him up, and headed to the bathroom. In there, I proceeded to bawl my eyes out. Once I regained my composure, I climbed back in my bed, only to cry for another few minutes before finally getting a grip. For God’s sake, Marney, it was a DREAM. They’re fine.
Jim was oblivious to the whole deal, he was in the bathroom, doing his usual morning business, shaving, showering, etc. When he came out, I told him I had a horrible dream that the children had died, but by this time I had completely regained myself and sounded normal. He said he too had a bad dream, but he couldn’t remember what it was. I brushed it off, but my heart actually hurt. It hurt so much that I made the kids pancakes. And I let them horse around. And I didn’t yell at them when I told Hank to go get dressed for school, but instead they ripped all the covers off the beds and made a fort. When I dropped Hank off at school, I told him to be careful today. He lifted one eyebrow (a genetic trait that I cannot perform myself) and said, “uh…. ok,” before hopping out of the car and running over to his friends.
I did some quick searches on the internet about what dreams mean, but couldn’t come up with anything specifically for what it means if your child dies. Mostly, death means something about figuring out what you are missing in your life, or facing your fears. I don’t know if dreams are a product of the subconscious or a message from the gods or just neurons or whatever firing in your brain, but I feel pretty strongly that I did not need a lesson on how horrible it would be to lose my children. I wonder, if there is any hidden meaning to it, if I am sad about my children growing up, hence, the death of their childhood. Hank is doing math that I don’t understand. George is using the potty. If you take a look at Hank, you can so clearly see my nephew Jonathan in him. But Jon is 21 now. Maybe it was something like that? Beats the hell out of me. The George Clooney reference — that just puts me at a total loss. I suppose that was just my mind’s way of letting me know that this was, in fact, just a dream.
I know that there is no time limit to when you stop worrying about your children. I am pretty sure that I was well into adulthood the last time my own mother checked on me in the middle of the night to make sure I was breathing. But today, I want nothing more than to hold my children as tightly as possible.
And to never dream again.