Dream a Little Dream
Why I don’t watch horror movies or read creepy books: nothing can top my nightmares for terrifying. I can honestly say that I have never, as far as I can remember, had a happy dream. Even as a small child, I dreamed I went to take my baby sister C out of her crib in the morning—and I lifted her right off her legs. When I was pregnant with Sheridan, I had a vivid dream. I had the baby, brought him home, and he was really little (I mean like 3 inches long). Later in the dream, I accidentally vacuumed him up off the floor. Imagine my relief when Mr. 7 lbs 10 oz. came along a few months later—not a chance of him landing in a Bissell bag!
Since the deaths of three close family members (my parents and sister), I dream about each of them at least four or five times a week. They are always in some kind of danger, and I am powerless to help them. In my sister Mo’s case, she is usually drowning and I am trying—and failing—to rescue her. Or I dream I am going somewhere important that involves climbing a steep ladder (wearing high heels, and the ladder is covered with ice) or crossing a rickety bridge over a very deep chasm. Here, my fear of not getting where I’m going in time is compounded by my terror of heights.
What do all these dire nocturnal imaginings have in common? Me, of course. It’s as if all my fears and phobias decided they can’t be contained in my waking hours, so they have to run rampant from midnight to dawn.
Over the years I’ve tried listening to soothing music, reading funny books before bed, leaving a light burning—nothing really helps. Most mornings I awake exhausted, feeling I’ve been fighting the forces of evil all night. It’s a heckuva way to begin a new day.
When the children were small, they all had their bad dreams. But the only one who seemed to really tap into my special vein of misery was Evan. He had night terrors from the age of nine months on. He’d scream, “Mommy!!” I’d come in to soothe him, and he’d back away as if I were a monster. “NO!!! I want Mommy!!” Even as I calmed and rocked him, I thought: Chip off the old block, poor little thing.
Haven’t asked my offspring about their dreams lately. I’d love to picture them snoozing peacefully, rainbows and butterflies dancing in their heads. But deep down I know better. Their probably tortured sleep is my unintended gift that keeps on giving. You’re welcome, kids!
So what do REM experiences mean? Are they Freudian subconscious desires? Who in their right mind would desire these crazy sleep visitors? Are they, as the Bible often chronicles, messages from God? In which case, Lord, please send me an email instead.
Oh well. It’s getting late. Here we go again.