I wouldn’t normally think that a dream would make for good blog material, and maybe it doesn’t, but if I’m going to be honest with what’s been taking up residence in my mind lately, then I’ve got to post this and do so without thoughts of whether it is “good, appropriate, interesting or relevant enough.”
Two nights ago I dreamt I was sorting through piles of dolls and stuffed animals with Emery in the dining room of the house she grew up in. Dreams just love to plop you down in random places doing things that seem pretty irrelevant but after you wake up, hopefully with a rough sketch of who, what and where, I find that the puzzle pieces usually fit together quite nicely. There was no doubt in my mind when I woke up as to why I needed to slowly sort through dolls and stuffed animals with my daughter. It was exactly what I needed.
We were sitting in dining room chairs, in a room void of all else except the growing piles of the animals and dolls. Emery would thoughtfully pick up each and every doll or stuffed animal and turn it over slowly while looking at it with such love that it seemed she might have actually birthed it. I was coming from a place of more efficiency and less emotion, and wanted to speed up the process and start building piles. The save pile was the only pile that was even a pile at all, as the other two, the trash pile and the give it away pile, were still just empty spots on the wood floor. My daughter is a softy with a very big heart.
There was one doll that was about 18 inches tall with hair that had been both cut and washed, neither successfully, who had a broken eye, a missing arm and no clothes. I might add that NONE of the dolls or animals were familiar to me and I seemed to be very aware of that in the dream, giving me pause as to why we were sorting out strange toys in the first place. I quietly slid naked punk-haired baby to the spot on the floor for throw away… or give away… giving her the honor of starting which ever pile would be acceptable.
“We can’t give HER away Mommy… no one will love her like we do because we know her,” said the sweet, tiny voice next to me.
When I turned around to justify my decision, it was my 4 year-old Emery who was sitting next to me, in the dress with cowboys and horses on it that I had made her, red cowboy boots and striped leggings that didn’t match… anything. My sweet little 4 year-old Emery…right next to me…
I wanted more than anything to pull her up onto my lap and hug her and hold her and hug her some more, but I didn’t because I was afraid if I tried to touch her, my hand would go right through her like a ghost and she might even disappear.
So for the remainder of the dream, I got to sit with my little girl next to me and sort out piles of dollies and animals that although I had no attachment to, I began to find a fondness for simply by seeing them through her eyes. I knew that the task at hand would be a simple one and that the give away and throw away piles would remain empty spots on the floor because my assistant’s heart was bigger than the room and there would be no creature left behind.
One of the very strange and memorable elements of the dream was that I had control of the pace and can distinctly remember slowing it down to a crawl at one point simply for the luxury of getting to linger in memories that were so real I could touch them, feel them and even help lovingly stack them into piles – stuffed animals on one side and the dolls on the other. No doubt at that point I had dipped into the realm of lucid dreaming, something I had accidentally taken an evening class on several years ago. Yes, accidentally. This was a much easier accident than when I enrolled in an Astronomy class my first semester at K-State and quickly figured out that I wasn’t going to learn a darn thing about Virgos and what sign they would have the most luck dating. I was a very young freshman, barely 18, if that helps me out at all…
Anyway, back to dream classes…I thought I had enrolled in a one evening dream analysis class, but instead I got a three hour run down on lucid dreaming, which ended up being better than what I had planned on. I didn’t learn how to do it, per se, but now can easily recognize it when it happens, which is pretty darn cool, by the way…
The last text I had gotten from Emery before I fell into dreamland that night, was a photo of a cute little yellow house in Ft. Collins, CO – the house that she and Miles just had just signed a rental contract on during their quick weekend visit to house search.
She’s married. She’s moving to Colorado. She’s growing up.
I woke up feeling sentimental, sad, confused, yet with a very full heart. There was a part of me that needed to sit with 4 year-old Emery and be reminded that no matter how old she is, or how grown up the decisions she is making with Miles are, she will always have that loving little girl inside of her with a heart that’s as big and open as the Kansas sky.
While growing up and finding their wings is what I assume most parents hope and plan for their children, the process is clumsy and awkward with shoes that are too big and pants too long and then one day it all fits and they’re adults doing adult things and managing just fine, because that’s what we taught them. It still sometimes surprises me though.
How cool is it that from the comfort of my bed, life gave me the gift of a tip toe back to a place that I needed to be reminded of while helping me, once again, through the process of letting go – a process I hadn’t yet realized was taking place. Somehow that pile of orphaned toys and the little girl sorting through them, gave me the message that everything was going to be OK.
And that was enough.