Hello? Anybody there?
I know, I know. I've been a bad blogger lately! I haven't written in weeks and to be honest with you, I have really missed writing! I'm not sure anyone other than two of my sisters and two of my nieces ever even read this blog, but I have realized that I write for myself as much as I do for anyone else. When I don't write, my thoughts pile up in my head and I begin to feel like I've fallen behind on something, like I'm buried in piles of papers, only the papers are thoughts - blog posts that I haven't written. It's the same stress that I feel when I'm nearing or past a deadline at work and I'm not finished with the task yet. I need to express my thoughts. Before blogging, I shared my thoughts in long emails. But, I didn't have a central place to keep, sort, and revisit those thoughts when I wanted to. This is the beauty of the blog. I do wish that I knew how to better organize my blog posts. I do wish I had a tab for Gavin, a tab for Home & Garden, a tab for Ponderings, and a tab for What we've been up to. I guess I could use tags instead so I could at least search by tag. Anyway, the long story - short - is that I've missed writing. I seem to think that I have to have some profound thought or exciting news to share to make a blog post worth writing. I think that no one wants to read a post about nothing in particular or about how my day went. I also think I don't have time to write. I wait until I get into bed at night and I pull out my computer. By the time I check my email and upload a few photos, my eyelids are getting heavier and heavier and I just end up tucking my computer away and turning off the lamp. I close my eyes and write my blog posts in my head instead. That doesn't help me. I don't sleep well. I had two scary dreams the other night. In one of them Gavin was drowning and I couldn't get to him. In the other one, my entire family was caught in a tornado.
The drowning dream was especially ironic... and terrifying. You see, I dreamed it... dreamt it?.. on the night of my 8th wedding anniversary (Tuesday). On the way home from our anniversary dinner, Cliff and I were telling each other some of the things we love and appreciate about each other. One of the things I was telling him was what a good, loving, and protective Dad he is to Gavin. I knew he would love our child and I also suspected his patience would sometimes be tested, but I didn't realize how protective he would be of his baby. I didn't realize how easily and quickly he would fall head over heels for this child. He would do anything to keep Gavin safe. As Cliff says, if it were up to him, Gavin would still be eating baby rice cereal because he's less likely to choke on it. So, here is what is strange about the dream... In the dream, Cliff was not paying attention to Gavin and that is why he was drowning. That would never happen. Cliff doesn't take his eyes off Gavin.
So, the dream... we were outside, at an above ground swimming pool surrounded by a deck. Cliff was floating in the water with his feet touching the bottom and his head at the surface. His eyes were closed and his ears were right at the surface so that the water was splashing around right near his ears, making it impossible for him to hear anything. He was just relaxing and soaking up the sun. I was fully clothed and on the deck. Gavin was standing on the deck at the edge of the pool, talking to Cliff. He wanted Cliff to catch him and he said "Ready? Go!" (which he has just started saying all the time!) and he jumped in, but Cliff never heard him and was oblivious. I yelled to Cliff, but he couldn't hear me. Gavin came up to the surface and took a breath, but he quickly sank down to the bottom of the pool. He resurfaced a couple of times and each time I reached for him, but couldn't get him. I was yelling for Cliff and trying to save Gavin. Gavin wasn't crying, but each time he came up, he sank down again. I jumped in the pool, but couldn't move in the water. It felt like I was swimming in thick pudding. I couldn't get anywhere! I could see Gavin at the bottom of the pool and I was trying to swim down, but I kept floating back up to the top, like I was full of air! I was screaming and trying to get to him and I couldn't. He wasn't coming back up to the surface anymore, just laying at the bottom of the pool with his eyes closed. Cliff was still floating in the water, in the sunshine... and I was screaming in terror, facing one of my greatest fears, unable to save my baby. I woke up crying and terrified. Why would I dream this dream right after talking with Cliff about parenting and recounting what a loving and protective Daddy he is. It was awful.
In the other dream, the tornado dream, most of my family took shelter from a tornado in an external storm cellar (root cellar), like the one in the Wizard of Oz. It sat out in the yard (my sister's yard, maybe?) under a big tree. It was all concrete and inside it was probably 4' high and 6' wide x 8' deep. There were about 8 of us in there. I was one of the last to climb in to the storm cellar. It was strange because sometimes when we were inside, we could see what was going on outside, and sometimes we couldn't, but there was no way we actually could have. It was all concrete with no windows. We saw the tornado coming and we all climbed inside - it was me, my sister Kathy, my sister Kristin, and then the other people changed throughout the dream, but it was mostly my sisters and nieces and nephews. At one point my sister Kathy and I saw her husband get on a tractor and go down the road to check on something. (Except it was actually my road that we were looking down, seeing him drive down it on the tractor). It was right when the tornado was coming and there he went. I remember the two of us thinking that was typical of one of the guys. To take off on a tractor to check things out instead of taking shelter. Eventually, we felt the storm cellar get picked up off the ground and start spinning around. I remember feeling seasick. At some point, we could see that we were way up high, like up at cloud level. The houses below were just tiny dots. We were hopeful that the tornado would bring us down closer to earth before it dropped us, knowing we would all die if we dropped from that great height. Then we could see outside again and we saw that we were being carried back toward the ground. The tornado finally dissipated and we were dropped just 20 feet or so down to the cattail swamp behind my parents house. We were all so thankful for our lives. We opened the cellar doors to get out and saw several more tornadoes coming at us just in time. We quickly closed the cellar doors again and were picked back up and could feel the concrete cellar flying through the air. We were carried all the way to the top of the tornado. We could see the center "vortex" of the tornado and it was a glowing blue circle, like a portal in an outer-space cartoon. We knew that if the cellar went into the vortex we were all goners. There was no return from the vortex of the tornado. We were all praying. Just then, the tornado dissipated and we went careening back toward earth, sure we were going to die. I woke up before we hit the ground. Some restful night, huh?
I wonder what I was stressed or worried about that I had those dreams. I wonder what that all meant, if anything. Usually when I dream, the dreams are very detailed, but scattered. The place we are changes from moment to moment, as do the people I'm with. I'm very rarely viewing the dream from a first person point of view like I did in these two dreams. Usually I'm watching myself in the dream, not feeling much of what is going on, just seeing it. It seems to be only nightmares where I am right there feeling it, seeing it from a first person point of view.
I've heard that babies don't dream, that they start dreaming as toddlers. That doesn't make any sense to me. I used to wonder what babies dreamt / dreamed about. I guess nothing. I wonder what Gavin dreams about. Occasionally, but very infrequently, he wakes up screaming during the night. I have assumed that maybe he was laying on his arm and now it's asleep and tingling or that he rolled over and bonked his head on the side of the crib or something. Sometimes I wonder if he was dreaming and I wonder what on earth could be so scary to him. What are toddlers afraid of? A few nights ago, he screamed and screamed and screamed at bedtime. He screamed like there was a monster tearing him from his crib. After 20 minutes, Cliff went into his room and the moment Cliff opened his door, Gavin stopped crying and laid down. His face was red and swollen from crying so hard. His nose was all stuffed up. Cliff talked to him for a minute and then left him to go to sleep. A few minutes later it started again, hysterical screaming and crying. We gave it about 10 minutes and then I went in to check on him and the same thing happened. I opened the door and he laid right down quietly, sniffling and sucking on his fingers. I talked to him for a minute and rubbed his back. I started to walk out of his room and he stood up and started crying again. I asked him if he needed one more hug and he wrapped his arms around my neck. I held him like that for a minute or two and then told him good night. He laid down quietly and I left his room. After another minute it started again. We let him cry for another 10 or 15 minutes until he finally fell asleep. We're not sure what the problem was. He seemed afraid of something. It's unusual for him to cry like that at bedtime. We did go through about a week and a half of him wanting one of us in his room while he fell asleep. I think I created that issue when we were out of town and he and I did sleep in the same room. When we came back home he cried at bedtime unless one of us was in his room. It took us several days to get over that and then suddenly the other night, the screaming episode happened. Then last night, no tears at all at bedtime. I do wonder what is on his mind. I wish he could tell me. He talks a lot now, but I can only understand about half of what he says.
Sometimes he says the funniest things. I guess they're only funny because they're so matter of fact and they're coming from a 19-month old. Tuesday evening, I had given him a bowl of raspberries and watermelon for dessert. Grandma Jennings was over to babysit. The only thing that Gavin gobbles up faster than watermelon and grapes is raspberries. Grandma looked in his bowl and the raspberries were gone in 2 seconds flat. So, Grandma says to Gavin, "Where did all those raspberries go?" Gavin looked at Grandma with the most serious look and said to her in a very matter of fact tone of voice, "immamowf", which clearly translates to "in my mouth". I realize this may not sound all that funny via text, but it was seriously so funny we were all laughing hysterically. ...and when we laugh, Gavin laughs! There's little out there that can make everything better like the sound of that laugh!