On Vivid Dreams & Harsh Realities
Sometimes, I love to just sit and think about all the ways that my baby girl is just like me. She’s tough, she’s independent, she’s strong and always analyzing her world…figuring out the best way to come at a problem. I love that about her. ♥
One thing I don’t love though, is the fact that she has my same vivid, scary dreams that woke me up as a child. We were very protected growing up. My mom, being a missionary, always had the thought that watching evil things could bring evilness into your life. And so we didn’t watch horror movies like other kids. We didn’t celebrate Halloween or even go out for “trick or treat”. I never much minded though, because I already had enough fears in my little, too grown-up head.
Maybe it comes from watching your mom and dad fight at a young age. From watching your dad beat your mother or knowing that he could fly off the handle at any moment…I don’t know. Maybe it comes from knowing what you didn’t have. That the doors had broken locks and that the windows didn’t close all the way. I’m still obsessed with door locks. I don’t know…but I always had really strong fears as a child, and while they kept me safe and out of trouble a lot, they also kept me feeling like a disaster could come at any minute. Like things were too unpredictable and too uncertain. Like nothing was sacred and that people could always be counted on for one thing…to hurt you.
Tonight I was consoling my daughter after one of her bad dreams. They don’t happen often, but they never fail to bring everything sweeping back to my memory. I remember that nobody was there to hold me. I remember that I couldn’t reach out for help or ask for mommy to come rescue me. Our family didn’t roll that way. We were emotionally distant. We didn’t want to upset dad. We didn’t “coddle” each other. If I was lucky to catch my mom alone, I would get all of her attention and I think that’s why I turned into such a baby after my dad left. I just wanted her to hold me all the time.
When my daughter has a bad dream, the whole family snaps into action. Mommy is holding her and telling her it’s going to be alright. She doesn’t even have to ask for that. Daddy tells a story or sings a “Jesus song” (usually the ‘Our Father’). We all take a few moments together to acknowledge the scaries, to wash them away and to console. Sometimes it takes a while and that’s fine.
There have been times when I’ve still had my vivid dreams, a premonition or case of “the spooks” and I’ve always been grateful that I have a husband who is willing to wake up in the middle of the night and hold me. He’s always been willing to wait until I’m comfortable enough to fall back asleep and that means so much to me…as I’m sure it means so much to our daughter.
Neither my husband or I had that growing up. We didn’t have someone to count on when we woke from bad dreams. I think that’s why it’s such a big priority in our home. I think that’s why we never ask ‘why?’…we just do.
To my family’s credit, they may not have been there for my bad dreams growing up, but they have always been there for me and then some in my adult life. If I ever had a need, I could always know that it would be met. Whether it was a ride somewhere, money to loan or someone to sit with you in the ER…they were always there. All of my sibling put their families first. All of them wake up in the middle of the night to console. All of them whisk their children away to magical places with their stories. I think we all learned how important those qualities were growing up.
Sometimes life can seem cold and lonely, but there are always lessons around every corner. For me, I’m glad that one of my lessons can benefit my daughter. I’m glad that she’ll never have to be alone.
© 2012, Chantilly Patiño. All rights reserved.