Keep Dreaming

Sleep and I have always been friends. When I was a toddler, I sat at the bottom of the stairs in the early evening, just waiting for someone to take me up and put me in bed. As a kid, I enjoyed sleeping in, which in our house was 7 am or later. When I was a freshman in high school, my goal was to be in bed by 9 pm every night. First year of college? I pushed that time back to 10 pm, only because the academic demands were more vigorous. Sleep and grad school didn’t mix well, but I did my best, going to bed early when I could since naps and I rarely saw eye to eye.

Then kids arrived, and while I still held sleep in high regard, I got a lot less of it, as most parents are wont to do. I refuse to ruminate on all those days (or nights, really) of lost sleep. It doesn’t do anyone any good to go through the details. Just know this: with twins and then four kids 6 and under, I didn’t get much sleep.

And let me tell you–I’m making up for lost time now.

These days, if I see the clock turn to 8:30 pm, that means I’m up late. In fact, most Friday nights, after the grind of the week has gotten to me, I’m snuggled into the sheets by 7:30 pm, and the light goes off right after 8. I usually don’t set the alarm for Saturdays, so it’s quite possible I will get 10 or 11 hours of sleep, and that’s just fine by me.

The odd thing now, though, is that my dreams, which have always been very vivid, have been downright strange. In one, I was yelling about being a writer and not an artist. In two others, I was late for a class I haven’t taught for years. In another, I walked into a classroom filled with past students, who stood up and cheered. Past boyfriends, new babies, labyrinth-like houses, and celebrities (Taylor Swift showed up twice!) have all featured in my dreams as of late.

Also . . . I’ve had dreams about my mother. My dead mother.

I don’t need a dream analyst to tell me that if I’m dreaming about my dead mother I probably have unresolved grief to deal with. I’m sure that’s true. She died after long battle with Alzheimer’s, and honestly, I don’t think I’ve sat with my grief at all since she passed in 2022. But the researcher in me wondered what else that dream might signify, and so, I checked with Google.

According to DreamGuideMe, “such dreams represent your commitment to changing your way of life for the better. It means you’re doing things that your mother would be proud of. And if you continue on the same path, your efforts will attract more success and glory. Let the dream inspire you to maintain your newly found way of life.”

What the heck? I mean, yeah, I think my mother would be proud of me. I pursued my dream of publishing books, and I’m there. I love my husband and children, and I think we’ve raised genuine people with good hearts who can make a difference in the world. My family is one to be proud of, and Mom would think so too. But I’ve been living the same life for the last twenty-odd years, so I don’t have any “newly found way of life.”

But I do have an almost empty nest, and my hours are filled differently. So maybe Mom is trying to tell me to keep going, keep filling my hours with the work and hobbies I enjoy right now.

Whatever the dreams mean, it was good to see and hear Mom, and I hope to see her again soon. So I’ll keep dreaming, and I hope you do too.

Image of blue butterflies and mushrooms by Игорь Левченко from Pixabay.

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