I awakened in the dead of night in a cold sweat. I dreamed that I could not find my daughter. It felt so real. So much so that I was, momentarily and, quite literally, panic stricken.
Once I had convinced myself that it was just a bad dream I made a few vain attempts at getting back to sleep, but the images from the dream continued to haunt me every time I closed my eyes.
I finally fell asleep. It was a very deep sleep. When I woke up this morning I had only a vague recollection of the frightening middle-of-the-night events and, thankfully, a sense of relief.
In the light of day I laid there for a time and tried to sort out the message that my subconscious had been sending me. Upon reflection, the message was not scary at all.
Why my dreams, and this one was no exception, often have the feel of a 1920’s speakeasy — illicit, hazy, and filled with shady characters — I will never understand.
Regardless of its overall mood and the strangeness of its setting, images of my daughter, not as she is today, but as she was as a child, were a large part of the dream and, upon conscious reflection, its overriding theme. They were not only memories, these images; they were also actual snapshots; photographs — happy photographs for the most part — taken by me or by someone else; real, tangible items that I have held in my hands.
Her on a swing in the park. Her, with her father’s assistance, putting the angel atop the Christmas tree. Her at an ice cream shop on a long ago vacation. Her dressed as a Pilgrim. Her playing field hockey. Her, in her prom dress, with her head thrown back and her arms akimbo, laughing. Her face on a baseball card. Her, as an infant, sleeping in her father’s arms.
Mostly, though, there was the one of her in her purple hat and matching coat. She was six years old. It was late Autumn. The Halloween decorations on the front lawn can be seen in the background. I must have had film left in the camera. Likely there were pictures of her, dressed as Tinkerbell, on that roll. I remember taking that picture.
That little girl that I was relentlessly (and unsuccessfully) searching for in my dream no longer exists. I have to let her go. I know this. Of course I know this. It is not easy, though.
On some level I blame Hootie for the dream. Yes, Hootie, from “Hootie and the Blowfish”. To be fair, he goes by his real name now — Darius Rucker. Last night, which was, incidentally, my daughter’s first night back at school since mid-December, I was watching a PBS program which featured Mr. Rucker.
As I was laying there, missing her, thinking about the fact that I may not see her until April, he began to tell the story of one of his most popular songs, “It Won’t Be Like This For Long”. While I have heard that song countless times, I guess that I never really listened to the words. Last night, I listened to the words. And I burst into tears.
Thankfully my husband had already fallen asleep. While he has developed a taste for “Downton Abbey”, “Mercy Street” may not have been his cup of tea. So, there I was, feeling alone and vulnerable, trying to decide whether or not “Mercy Street” had been my cup of tea either, when this music program came on.
I like Darius Rucker. I figured that listening to him sing would be a nice way to end what had been an angst-filled week.
The last week before she returns to school is always bittersweet. That, combined with the fact that I hit the bad job jackpot — I now have two jobs that I hate, aren’t I a lucky gal? — and an ill-timed decision to paint my kitchen (don’t ask!), left me longing for some mindless entertainment. Enter Hootie.
And THAT song.
Yeah. It won’t be like this for long. I know. Still, I would give just about anything if today I was posing her in front of the pumpkins in her little purple hat and asking her to smile and to say, “Cheese” instead of sitting here thinking about how she is 300 miles away.
On the other hand, it won’t be like this for long.
To hear “It Won’t Be Like This For Long”, copy and paste this link: