I had a dream last night that Husband, Little Miss and I were visiting a nearby mountain town with my parents. It didn’t look much like the town in reality, but somehow I knew it was that town anyway. I guess that’s the way of dreams. We were in a trinket shop – like the many that line the main drag of this 1,000-person tourist town – and all I remember was that it was getting dark and we had to leave. Presumably the shop was closing, so we made our way to the door.
For some reason the streets and sidewalks were deserted; no cars were even parked along the curbs, and not even one person leaned against a building sending smoke signals from a half-open mouth and another from the fingers. This didn’t strike me as odd in the dream, but it was strange when I recalled it after waking.
We had a Suburban (which I or my family have never owned), and we all made our way to it. Little Miss was following us, slowly as usual, as she looked around her in the near-darkness, distracted, as she usually is when out in public, by anything new and eye-catching. (Though what she was seeing is beyond me, since nothing and no one was there.) We all piled into the car and somehow ended up leaving Little Miss outside the vehicle as she wandered into the middle of the street.
I called to her as my dad started the Suburban. “Dad, wait!” I cried, reaching for the door handle.
“No, she needs to learn to get in the car when she’s supposed to,” my dad said in my dream. Tears were streaming down my face, and my this time Little Miss had realized we were leaving her and she started running toward the car, arms outstretched, crying.
My dad, in the dream, of course, pulled the Suburban away from the curb and turned the corner to drive around the block, all in the name of teaching Little Miss a lesson. In my dream I’m sobbing for my poor, scared little girl.
Even now, hours after waking up, I can still see the image of Little Miss in my dream, arms reaching for Mommy, tears streaking her face as she runs in her little toddler way toward the departing car.
It breaks my heart just thinking about this dream, and I hate having such vivid, realistic visions at night. Nothing is realistic about the dream, of course; my dad would never do anything so stupid, and we would never be the only people out and about in that tourist town surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery. I would also never get in the car before having Little Miss safely buckled into her own car seat.
I’ve had other dreams where our house catches on fire and I break her window from the outside to get in and rescue her, or in a windstorm a tree falls on our house and pins me to the bed and I can hear Little Miss crying but I can’t do anything to help her. Again, not very realistic, but I suppose they are fears instilled in mothers everywhere – the crying child they cannot reach.
But dreams don’t follow reality; they pull random thoughts and images and memories from within your psyche and combine them in ways that rarely make sense in the waking hours to create experiences and stories most people forget within moments of waking up.
Unfortunately, some images take longer to leave your memory and can only be erased by a long, tight embrace and kisses from your little one. And it’s on days like this that I can’t wait to pick Little Miss up from daycare so I can give her another big hug and kiss and make her giggle until she gasps for air.