I dreamt that I was riding in a car as a passenger. It was raining. Somewhere on the road, we stopped to open the door and let my son outside. I didn’t understand this but isn’t that how a dream progresses?
It was wet but the road ahead was even stormier. For some reason, I thought he’d be safer outside. I don’t remember us speaking or hugging or waving goodbye. I just remember seeing him becoming smaller and smaller as the car drove away. The driver of the car was a woman I barely knew from childhood, and never spoke to as an adult. She did not speak.
But I did.
In my dream, with every second, I noted puddles and rough patches in the road. With each puddle, on the dark and dreary path, I remarked how difficult it would be for my son to walk across the puddles, behind us on the side of the road. I kept questioning why I let him out of the car. He will be scared. He will melt down. He will not be able to cross this road alone. I must go back. Panic set in. I needed to get out of the car and go back. But before I could try to open the car door and go back, something happened.
Suddenly, and without a word, the woman driving the car, sharply swerved to the right in an attempt to turn the car around. The road though, had become a bridge over a muddy brown, flooding, and raging river. The opposite direction was a separate bridge, each direction separated only by water – no road.
And before I could scream or react, the car was sinking into the muddy brown water. Immediately, I resolved that this is how I would die. “So this is how it ends,” I thought. “There is no use in fighting my death. I must accept the end.” I reached out to hold my son’s hand and remembered that I had put him out of the car so he was safe. He would not suffer the same fate. And just as suddenly, I awoke.
I was agitated. The first thing I did was take a deep breath. I looked at my son, sleeping soundly. It was dark. I tried to go back to sleep but the image of my impending death kept me unsettled. I tossed and turned. Would I have actually fought it in reality? Would I try to do the impossible and break the glass? I got up and touched and kissed my son’s small, warm hand in the silence of the night. I held his sweet hand to my cheek. He stirred and rolled over and away.
It was all ridiculous. It was nothing more than a nightmare. I thought, at first, the nightmare had come from no where. I saw no show and read no book, telling such a tale of distress. I had no idea why my subconscious chose to delight me with such horror.
In the light of day, I thought again about the nightmare. The images and the defeat I embraced almost immediately upon recognizing my doom, were too strong to simply fade away from my fully conscious mind. How could I give up and in so easily? That was so unlike me.
But then I saw the nightmare as a message.
Some day, I will have to let go of my son. I will have to put him out of my life path and set him on a road that may be filled with rainy potholes and danger. I will worry with every last bit of my being about his safety. I will regret letting him cross his own paths. I will talk to anyone and everyone about my worries, and not listen to or hear their replies. I will want to go back and rescue my son, but no one can go back in time. My life path is set and ultimately, it will be solo.
It sounds rather dour and dark, but it is simple reality. There are obvious reasons this came to me now, just after my husband’s mother passed. It’s dark outside from a storm that began the day she departed.
To try and keep the mood from becoming too somber around our house, I’ve been setting up our Elf on the Shelf for many silly antics, posting them to Instagram. This puts a smile on my husband’s face, at least for a few moments. And then, my son cheers us both up, talking, very seriously, to the Elf, whom he has named “Gingerbread”, about his long list for Santa, which he extends and modifies, daily.
My mom always told me that if you don’t want a dream to come true, you must tell it to someone the next day to destroy it from reality, one of her many superstitions. Or maybe that was her way of getting me to open up to her about what was in my subconscious… Either way, you’ve now lifted my burden. The muddy waters should run clear. And the only person who will be driving across any bridges, is me. I won’t be making any u-turns.