During the school year, morning is a hazy rush of admonitions starting with a gentle nudge and "Get up, Clara" to a firmer command of "Get up NOW, Clara." Breakfast often shifts from a bowl of cereal to a little plastic bag filled with cereal since by the time Clara is finally sitting down to eat breakfast, it is time to leave for school, and she has to eat her breakfast in the car. It is fair to say that Clara and I are not "morning people." One of the benefits of us both being home in the summer is that we can wake up when we feel like it, and one of my favorite side effects of these leisurely mornings is that we have time to share our dreams from the night before.
Clara has an active dream life, and each morning, she invariably begins the recounting of her dream with an announcement of what type of dream she had. Her dreams come in four main categories: happy, scary, sad, and silly.
Clara's happy dreams are usually involve one or more of the following: watching the Nutcracker, her birthday party, going on rides, swimming, Christmas, Canada, Cape Cod, fireworks, and rainbows. There is not a plot to these dreams; instead, these dreams seem to be one ongoing impressionistic celebration of her favorite moments in life. Sounds pretty nice to me.
The first dream I remember Clara recounting is when she had spiked a fever and had a nightmare about little Elmo characters multiplying all around her- multiple Elmo heads sounded pretty scary to me, too!
Clara said, "I had a sad dream like when you (mama) had a broken arm. A monster or whatever or something else that’s scary took off your arm with their large teeth. Then, I got totally sad. I went to the hospital to see the doctor. I glued your arm back on with big glue."
This is somewhat of a recurring dream or else it was so powerful the first time that she remembers it. She talks about the broken arm dream a lot. I am very careful with both of my arms as a result of hearing this dream on a regular basis.
One of Clara's favorite types of dreams to talk about is her silly dreams.
Clara said, “I had a silly dream. It was about pancakes. It was about all the things my dollies liked to put syrup on. Chou-Chou likes syrup on his pizza. And Purple Dolly likes syrup with pancakes. And Fiona likes syrup on her tomato sauce..."
At this point, I suspect that her dream actually ended, but Clara wanted to keep on telling her story, so she looked around the room for one last character to add. Her eyes fixed on her doll, Isabella.
"...And my new doll, Isabella... her favorite thing is chicken sauce on top of her tomato, too. That’s pretty silly!” Clara broke into giggle as she finished her recounting of this silly dream.
I don't tend to have too many silly dreams these days, but it is uncanny the number of times that Clara awakes to share a sad, happy, or scary dream in which the mood of her dream resonates with my own dreams. It feels like our dreams connect us in a way that sometimes transcends and deepens our relationship as mother and daughter.
I have talked to other working mothers who choose to have their children sleep in the same bed with them as a way to connect at night. Even if they are not outwardly interacting with one another during these night-time hours, it helps some mothers to feel connected to their child-- night time becomes "their" time together. Clara has spent her fair share of time sleeping in and out of our room during these past few years. Now that she sleeps regularly in her own "big girl bed," I have to admit it feels nice to know that even though she is slumbering in another room that perhaps our thoughts and dreams are nonetheless mingling in the night air.