This week seems to be wrapped around dreams. From a sleep-shifting night terror to peeking inside my day to day dreams, I can't seem to shake the clingy cobwebs of dreams.
I've had night terrors all of my life. I define them this way, rather than as their much calmer cousins, nightmares, because of how the frightful creatures in my dreams follow me into wakefulness. The other night a gentle dream set in the neighborhood of my child life slowly transformed into a horror movie. I woke up, feeling pinned to the mattress, convinced that a dark figure was standing in the hallway. With prayer and breathing the oppressive terror faded. I reached for my sleeping husband's warm hand. His comforting aliveness anchored me as I watched the dark hours of morning pass.
Life is full of dreams. The biggies of how lives will be lived are sprinkled with the little dreams that in their sum total make up the story of a life. One of these, for me, is gardening. Women who love growing things runs through my life: my great grand mother and her roses, my maternal grandmother with her snowball bushes and pampas grass, and my own mom who has a gift for gardening and who has taught me most of what I know. I always planned to be one of those people with an ever changing, all season garden full of scents, and bees, and beauty. The first home we purchased had a flat lifeless yard and when we left a few years later, it was mostly unchanged. The rapid progression of my illness kept my garden dreams in check. Our new place had dying roses, hummocky green weedy lawn from foundation to fence, and a few weedy trash-filled beds. Over the past few years I've fought to improve the place. Spending money we can't really afford to hire out the heavy labor, a dear friend prunes my roses, and every time my mom stops by, she spends a few minutes clipping and pruning. The fact remains that due to MS I will never have the garden from my dreams. I won't spend long days hauling dirt and digging holes and joyfully grubbing around outside. Just lately I am starting to accept the reality of this.
Yesterday afternoon I sat on my porch with two friends. We are close to the same age, all have kids, and all have different challenges and losses. I heard in our conversation the yearning for similar dreams. The poignancy of raising children. The need for more time to simply be. The desire to create rich and rewarding lives.
It is easy for me to long for what I imagine they have: careers, busy schedules, volunteering and even gardening. I'd guess that they too see things in my life that they wish they had. Although it is hard for me to image what that would be.
It is interesting to consider that I have accepted my night terrors and learned strategies to go through them and can't seem to do the same for my day to day dreams that will not come true. This summer I have placed a few pots of flowers on my porch and enjoy watering and fussing with them. These few flowers aren't a substitute for my fading dream garden, but I do come inside with dirt under my fingernails and for now, that will have to do.