I have always admired people who could remember their dreams, often recalling in great detail the story that unwound in their head the night before. Even more impressive are those people who keep a dream journal, dutifully recording each day what they dreamed the night before.
I’m not like that. I seldom can recall what I dreamed the night before, even if I try to do so just upon awakening. But there are a few dreams that I do remember – some of those because they are recurring dreams (and those aren’t usually all that pleasant).
There is one very special dream I remember, however, from nearly thirty years ago which occurred during a, shall we say, transitional time in my life. The memories and the meaning I derived from that dream were nothing less than transformational! The main character in this dream is so special to me that I have named her: Sweet Pea.
As I remember it, the dream began with me walking into a large room where a few dozen people had gathered. The room was sparsely furnished with only two oversize sofas placed in an L-shape, a large square wooden table in front of the sofas, and two antique floor lamps. There were no rugs on the richly stained, shiny oak floors and no curtains on the wide expanse of windows which were the length of the room and waist-high to the ceiling.
I couldn’t really recognize any of the people in the room; I am not even sure I saw their faces. Many of them were seated on the sofas looking through photo albums–the old kind that smelled of paper and leather and held the photos on the page with an adhesive triangle at each corner. The room was quiet with a rhythmic hum of muted conversation, interrupted occasionally with an outcry of surprise or laughter. Because the sofas were arranged a few feet away from the walls, I was able to walk behind them to look over a person’s back or shoulder to see what or who was in the album. I was surprised to see they were ALL old photographs of my family: my parents when they were children or teenagers and older; my two older sisters and me from infancy through early childhood; and numerous other relatives–grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins from both sides of my family. Although I don’t remember wondering about this in the dream, I find it curious that no one seemed to see me, so I didn’t interact with any of them. I just moved from group to group as they continued looking at the albums.
The quiet of the room was suddenly interrupted by the clickety footsteps of a little girl, about two or three years old, who was wearing white sandals and a lavender romper (with ruffles across the rump). Her hair was blonde and slightly curly and she wore a big white ribbon bow just above her ear. To be such a little tyke, she walked with great confidence and purpose! I watched as she went over to the sofas and talked a bit with several people. It was obvious from the aura that she created in the room that this little girl was both cherished and respected.
Then she spotted me standing over by the wall of windows. She wasn’t quite tall enough to see out so she asked me to help her. Actually, she just looked at me and said, “Up!” Who could resist such an innocent?
As she sat in the crook of my arm, she began looking at the outside and asked, “What’s that?” “What’s that?” “What’s that?” What a funny little imp! I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself and, at the same time, was quite impressed with her curiosity and desire to know about everything in her sight. After a bit of time passed and I had answered all her questions, she looked at me–straightaway in the eyes–and smiled broadly. It was such an intense gaze that even now as I write about it, I almost feel like blushing. Then she hugged me with all of her being–a full, you-are-the-best-ever embrace. Then quickly, she said, “Want down.” I was sad to give her up and asked, “Where are you going?” In her great wisdom and innocence she answered, “Don’t know. But I’m going!” As I looked at her one last time I realized that the little girl was me! I was astounded and joyous that I could see and hold and embrace the little child in me and to truly feel such deep love and affection for her. For me.
To be honest, I can’t write “and she lived happily ever after.” I have had my share of tragedy and sorrow since then; and for certain I have had joys and triumphs and many blessings. (In other words, Life). But I have lived with a different attitude. For whatever reasons, I was inspired by that dream to love myself, to appreciate the wisdom of that inner child, to renew in my daily living the delight, curiosity, and energy she brought to my dreaming mind.
Today is Mother’s Day. I have shared this story purposefully on this day. Even though not everyone is or will be a mother, we ALL have a child – that inner child who lives with wild abandon and the wisdom of the ages in our souls.
I hope you will find your Sweet Pea.