Friday, April 29, 2011

Waking up to the goodness of my reality

Last night in my dreams, the unthinkable happened. I dreamt a dream so horrible that when I mentioned it to Pieter this morning, my heart sank to the deepest depths of my stomach, my throat became dry as a desert, and my eyes began to tear just from recollection alone. I dreamt last night that my little sweetness had been taken from us. Robbed away so fast, that when we finally realized what happened, it was too late. 

We were at the pool with friends and family. It was the classic mid-Summer day, bright and beautiful with a soundtrack in the background of  loud bouts of laughter and children's voices chanting Marco Polo as they splashed. I placed Lola in the water, in the shallow end because she didn't know how to swim. She was timid at first, slightly overwhelmed by the drastic change from hot sidewalk to the chill of the pool. She was amazed at the sight of this large body of water, amazed at the sight of the big kids cannon balling, splashing high. She laughed her great laugh, the one that comes from her belly. The way she does when she thinks something is really funny. She was excited to be there.

Pieter and I were asked to join in on a game taking place at the other end of the pool. So we left her under the general supervision of family sitting closest to her end. I remember leaving her there, smiling at her as we began to drift off to the other side. Taking a mental picture. Watching her splash happily. Seeing her face light up with joy. I wanted to remember her in that moment, in all her innocence. As Pieter pulled me toward the other side, I remembered the sunshine and how it's heat seemed to brighten everything up, overexposing it. This would be the last time I saw her.

I remember feeling like we played for a long time. You know how dreams do that? They make time seem as if it drags by but in reality, it only last the blink of an eye. I remember clouds rolling in. The weather changing fast. I headed back to the shallow end, leaving Pieter to continue the game without me. From a distance, I couldn't see her. I remember thinking to myself, 'she probably got too cold', expecting to see her running around. When I finally made it over, I asked our family where she was. I remember the blank looks on their faces, their lifeless eyes glaring hard into mine, realizing they had forgotten all about her. I thought it was all a joke. I nervously laughed it off, truly knowing deep down, that that was it.

I became frantic, calling out to Pieter. I tried convincing myself to stay calm. To take deep breaths. To ignore the thumping heart in my chest. The pulse in my ear. I remembered that she couldn't swim, hoping to God that we'd find her in the pool somewhere. I felt guilty as I swam around looking for her. As people leaned nervously over the edge of the pool hoping for her tiny, lifeless body. Hoping for a chance to revive her. But there was nothing. I cried. I worried. I felt a sickness come over me that I knew would never subside. I missed her more in those minutes than I could ever explain.

Fast forward. The cops were called and the search began. Days and days passed, and we knew that with more time came less the answer that we wanted.This part of the dream is vague. I remember feeling distraught, helpless and confused. Feeling like I had lost everything. I felt my sanity slipping away. Like I could never recover. The police would eventually find her kidnapper but never her whereabouts. I remember pleading with myself, trying to wake up at numerous points throughout the dream, but it kept going. I remember thinking, 'why can't I just wake up', the way I do so easily when I'm in other dreams too horrible to sleep through. But I couldn't. I felt as though I had been hijacked, forced along a ride with an ending I never wanted to know.

Then she woke up crying. And in that moment of half drowsy-half consciousness, I woke to the goodness of my reality. Pieter placed her between us. She quickly drifted back to sleep, rolling over a bit to find her sweet spot. I followed her lead, waking up periodically to catch a little glimpse of my world. Each time, my heart confessed the love I have for her, of the hurt and sense of loss I felt for the seconds my dream lasted. Of the regret. I apologized and promised that she would never feel scared or lost or abandoned. In those moments this morning, my heart spoke to hers in volumes of the life she would live and the love she would feel.
Today, I am thankful for my reality. Today, I will love her a little more.


PeterandCarin said...

this hurt my heart :( thank god you woke up right? you are an amazing mommy and she is so lucky to have a mom that loves her so much!

Andrea Neudorf said...

What a horrid dream! Ugh I HATE nightmares! Especially when they feel just like real life:( I hope this night will be better for you and full of sweet dreams, (or none at all)

Katie said...

Ugh, how heart wrenching. I'm so glad it wasn't real.