Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Last Night I had the Strangest Dream

Last night I had a dream straight out of the movie Family Man.  I dreamt that I was married to my first college boyfriend, the missionary, the one who (spoiler) I dumped Avram for, and the one who (not very much a spoiler) I then broke off our tenuous understanding (I was in Egypt, long story....) and married Avram.  We'll call him D, so I don't embarrass myself on Google searches.  A note - sometimes in the past in my marriage I have had a bad tendency to think that although life is hard, and this husband and these kids are hard, that if I had married someone else, it would be easier.  Oh, sure, logically I knew that milk would still spoil, and kids would still cry, but fundamentally I fuzzily thought it would be easier in some hand-wavium, romanticized-past sort of way.

Well, in the dream, just like in the movie Family Man, I woke up into an alternate life, one wherein D and I were married.  I was basically the same age I am now, and it was, I presume, the parallel life I would have had.  I knew that I was only in that life for a day or so, and I could still remember my normal life with Avram & Co.  First off, we were living with D's parents.  Yes.  In a big old rambling house.  I went downstairs to see my children, not really knowing who or what my children were.  The two oldest were playing together in the basement family room.  One looked up, and his name was Andy, and as I looked into his eyes, his sweet eyes that I couldn't completely reach, the soundtrack of my life ground to a screeching halt, and I realized he was autistic.  He was fairly high functioning - he could talk and such, but was definitely autistic.   He was my oldest, and in school, and half of the dream was spent discussing his IEP, and the most recent meeting we had had with the school about it.    This wasn't how I had imagined my life - any life.   In that life, I loved Andy furiously, but the part of me from this life was still in the back of my mind, noting how wrong this all was - autism isn't easy and isn't something you 'recover' from.  Also, on less epic notes, I was thinking, "Andy - really?  Andy? I'm more of an unusual namer (you may have noticed), and I'm pretty sure I would never name a child Andy."  It wasn't until I woke up that I fully realized that D's middle name is Andrew - so I presume he was named after his father.

Then next to Andy, my second child, a daughter, looked up.  And it was Elisheva.  She looked just like Elisheva, and we had named her Elisheva in this alternate life as well.  I sat there thinking that she must be her mother's daughter through and through.  For half the dream I didn't know where, or who, my youngest was, but eventually I found him, a little baby boy on the cusp of toddlerhood, named Brandon.  After Andy as a name, I wasn't as surprised that I had named a child Brandon, but I was still feeling like did I really know myself at all, and I admit, my first thought upon finding this out was that I couldn't believe I was one of those fans, who had named my child after my favorite author, Brandon Sanderson.

The dream progressed through the day/life.  I felt awkward sharing my in-law's space, there was a large family gathering I felt overwhelmed in, and I was still trying to absorb my three children, not to mention that I was trying to figure out who I had become in this life.  In all of that, the actual matter of my husband was relatively small.  He was there, and solid, but not much happened with our relationship in that day - like real life as well, some days, with a busy family.  I wanted to know more about who I was, and in lieu of any other recording that I could find, I looked over this other Thora's pinterest boards, scanning them to learn something of myself.  I also looked hard for record of wedding pictures, which I found, and were nice.  I pinned them to my pinterest boards.  (I don't know where Facebook was - I guess I didn't use it?).  Much of the dream was spent talking to D's sister, there for the family get-together, and surreptitiously trying to figure out my place in this family, in this life, this marriage, without sounding like I'd gone crazy, or forgotten my own children's names.

By the evening I felt very drained with all of this new life, and new burdens.  I excused myself from the family, and pulled D along to bed early, where we first sat down to read a scripture program we were doing, that involved reading some set texts for twenty minutes a day (on our kindles - I was pretty high tech for me).  Just a few minutes in, I was so exhausted from everything, and starting to fall asleep, that I had to cut it off and go to bed right then.  This was another large moment for me in the dream.  Back when D and I dated our freshman year, he was living with his sister and brother-in-law, and I would often join with them in a family scripture study.  I had always assumed that a real, great strength of that would-have-been relationship would have been our steady as a rock scripture study.  I felt so disappointed in myself in the dream, thinking that this was what our life was - I couldn't even stay awake during scripture study, we were living with family (for unknown reasons), I had a special needs child that although wonderful was also a lot harder than I had bargained parenting to be, and apparently I had developed a mundane taste in names (apologies to anyone with the name of Andy or Brandon - but I just like to be different with names.)

The dream progressed in so real a manner, that it never felt like a dream. The setting didn't suddenly change, the makeup of people didn't shift and change, no rampaging Unicorns nor impossible actions like falling from the sky and jumping up occurred.  The dream just was.
I haven't really given a thought to the might have beens of other marriages in years, yet Avram and I did talk about the past briefly last night, which I supposed must have spurred that dream, although the small and crazy part of me likes to think - what if it really was a what if?  It was a good reminder that life is hard - any life.