In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Just a Dream.”
I’ve been running with Ashley on my shoulder for miles… I’m sure it’s been miles. I can’t let them take her. I look back and see nothing of the places I’ve been running from, nothing of the noises that were chasing me. I only see three doors. Each of them is a door from a home in my life. Each of them has an ornate carving around the door’s handle. None of them were there before.
Ashley cries. Her hair is wild and swirling in the wind. She looks at me and whimpers, “I want to go back.”
I set her down. Even though she is just a small baby, she runs upright to the doors. I think nothing of this oddity, and I follow her.
“Pick one! Pick one! I want to go back!” She is squirming frantically. I want to sooth her. I reach to pick her up and hold her, but she has vanished. My baby is gone. I panic.
Is she behind one of these doors? I feel this aching sensation in my stomach.
I just want to find her.
I hear her cry from behind the doors. But which door? I can’t make out the location. I lean in towards each one. Her sounds fade as I place my ear upon the cold hard surface of the first two doors.
It’s the third door that speaks to me, “In here.” The voice sounds familiar but I can’t place it. It comes from a face that I can see, but it slowly fades away, along with her cries. It scares me.
I step back.
I’ve never been good with choices. I know I’m running out of time though, and I must decide or Ashley will disappear forever. I close my eyes and reach for the third door and turn the handle.
When I open my eyes I am in a hospital bed.
“Where’d ya go?” My husband smiles softly? “You ok?” He puts his hand on my leg. I search his eyes, and he knows my question. “She didn’t make it sweetie. We lost her.”
I turn my head towards the hospital room doorway. I look for one of the other doors to try again, but I only see a curtain covering the entrance to my room. I don’t know why I thought the three doors would be there anyway. I close my eyes… hoping to go back to sleep, hoping that I will see her again.
When I open them, she is there. Waving at me from the doorway. She’s smiling and shining like a brilliant star. She runs to my bed.
“See you soon Mommy.” She touches my cheek and turns to leave. As I reach out to hold her, she is hovering above my bed. The bluest of skies fills my room. There are no wings, no halos, she is just there…above me. She turns to look to her side and a warm ray of light flows from behind her onto my face. I feel peaceful. I feel so at ease, I jump to meet her but she floats a way. I run towards her, realizing that I’m running miles above the earth, over a field of green grass. Every step I take touches the ground, then I bound back into the clouds. Before I know it, she is far from me and I am soaring through space. Searching for the doors, searching for her.
The further she gets the harder it is to stay in the sky. I struggle to stay above the earth. Before I know it, I make a rather bumpy landing and find myself laying on the ground.
I roll over.
Sadly doing so wakes me from my sleep…I sigh and wonder if I will ever choose the right door.
It’s scary to make a change. To step away from what provides you security. To turn away from what you thought defines you. To look towards what awaits you.
I now see through the walls that once contained me. I have felt the gentle winds of change upon my face for some time now.
It is time for me to soar…
My dad lives pretty far away. Unfortunately, he comes to visit less often that he used to (sadly fighting cancer is expensive…). When he does come to see me, we always go to Seattle, and take a trip to the waterfront for his favorite; Ivar’s. Ivar’s isn’t really my favorite, but I do things I wouldn’t usually do for my dad (like hiking, even though I’m terrified of bears).
Anyway, during his last visit, one of his friends insisted he try the Halibut Fish and Chips at a little fish market outside of Pikes Place Market… instead of Ivar’s. Since his friend has the nickname “Halibut”, for his amazing seafood cooking abilities, my dad broke tradition and tried his friends suggestion (without me unfortunately). He was impressed and insisted we go there from now own (bye-bye Ivar’s!).
Up until last week I had forgotten about this taste bud twist of fate. My dad had another scan for cancer this past week, so I decided to do something he loves; I went to Seattle. Our original plan was to eat at Beecher’s (who doesn’t love hot Mac and Cheese on a chilly day in Seattle?), but it was closed for repairs (!). Thankfully, my husband remembered the little fish market story…with the Halibut Fish and Chips that my dad loved so much. After some searching, we found the spot. Happy to say that a new tradition is born!
I love you Dad
When I first learned of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut at an elementary school, I will admit that my initial response was to store it away, along with the another recent shooting in Clackamas, Oregon at a mall. I planned to categorize it with the growing number of other similar events; another young man walking into an unsuspecting location and killing so many innocent people, for reasons we may never know. In order to survive, I have to do this. I have to store it away, because I can’t make sense of any of it.
It just seems that this type of event occurs more and more often these days…senseless, random, mass killings. It’s now become a part of American society. It also seems so very different from mass killings around most of the world. America’s events seem to revolve around personal vendettas; they were bullied, they were mentally ill, they were victims themselves, they were acting out of their own selfish desire. It’s hard to comprehend these events, in any place in our world, but it’s harder to not ask ourselves what is happening. Are these the results of desensitization with violent movies and games, unregulated gun control, or lack of parenting skills? Why is this becoming such a growing problem in our country? How can we end this pattern?
It was only a few weeks ago that I drove home from a work event with some colleagues. Our conversation eventually fell to parenting. One of my colleagues, only recently married, has no children. The other, married many years, has middle and high school age children. Myself, married many years as well, has children out of high school. At some point the topic of needing other parents to help us out – by telling us what are kids are up to – came about. After some discussion we all agreed that, “It takes a village to raise a child”. We meant it! But really…what should this look like?
I’ve been the parent that has called another parent to inform them that their child has done something they shouldn’t have done. I’ve had that event turn quite volatile, and sadly destroy whatever section of that village I had hoped to have help raise my child. I’ve also been the parent who has received a call from another parent to inform me that my child has done something they shouldn’t have done. It’s humbling. It’s embarrassing. It’s also very needed.
This is what it boils down to; in today’s world there seems to be a need to look as if we are all doing things perfectly; drive nice cars, buy nice clothes, let kids do what they want. Everything is supposed to appear perfect. The new American Dream. In my opinion…irresponsible parenting seems to be something to add to our fiscal cliff, our housing crisis, our obesity issues…all of it. Sometimes parent’s are afraid of their kids, sometimes parents are ashamed of their kids, sometimes parent are baffled by their kids. So what do the parents do? They look away, because it’s easier. It’s easier to take a quick fix, or save face in the moment instead of having to take the long, hard road of tough love.
Yes, it’s hard to be the bad guy in parenting. Yes, there may be screaming and fighting. Yes, your kid may even run away because they hate your rules. Yes, your parenting may look ridiculous to others who are “lax”. But as a parent, knowing that you did all you could and fought the hard battle for your child is what you want. These kids are our future and we can’t raise them alone.
Be open-minded if you get that call from another parent, listen to the situation. Seek help if you are at your wit’s end or can’t afford help. If it’s a serious situation…do not give up, do not worry about how you will look to others. ASK FOR HELP. I also say…ask for help if you know others who need help and can’t get it themselves. We network for jobs; my God… network for your children.
When details of Newtown’s events began to unfold in the media, I began to cry. I thought of what my children would have been doing at that age in their classrooms. I remembered the holiday parties, the decorating, the homemade gifts they made. I felt far too connected to the losses of these families. They should have their children with them right now. They should have their children be able to wake up tomorrow. They should have the chance to make and receive phone calls to keep their children out of trouble.
Maybe this growing trend of killing innocent people in our society has nothing to do with how we parent, but coming together has to be able to end it. We have to stand up to this new trend. We have to speak out when things don’t feel right. We have to look to others to help make change. Taking that stance of “It takes a village…” needs to go beyond just parenting.
As I write this, the media now reports that 20 children were killed. Countless others have been affected though, some forever. As the president spoke and paused to compose himself (to keep from further weeping), I realized…this event has to bring about a change. This isn’t right. Our president is moved to tears. How many times has that even happened? Tonight I fall to my knees in prayer; begging for salvation for our world, hoping that we will come together as one large village and help raise us all.
I wish I were the wind…
I would whisper through your boughs
And dance amongst your leaves
I would carry out thunder’s bellow
and bring rain’s relief
I would embrace your silhouette
And give you life to breathe
I would stir up your subsistence
And sweep up your disease
I would wear away your strength
And cause you to heave
Always towards me
How I wish I were the wind…