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a dream about swimming

Friday, August 21, 2009

my dream the other night:

the monster and i were swimming. he was ahead of me and i was holding on to a rope that he was pulling. when he swam well, i floated up to the top and was pulled along. when he didn't, i would start to sink. while i was sinking all i could do was struggle and panic and hope he'd start swimming, and when he would start to swim well and i would pop up to the surface i would first feel relief and then great pride in how well he was doing. and i'd shout 'good for you, monster! way to go!'

i don't think i've ever had such a clear and easy dream to interpret.

over the past few months we've had quite a tough time with the monster. we knew all the changes would be hard on him: a baby brother, leaving daycare, leaving our friends and extended family, leaving our house and english and canada, coming to argentina, new extended family, immersion in spanish, then another move away from extended family, baby brother getting bigger, new town, new house, new daycare. it's a lot for anybody, and it wasn't until we were here and he was in his new school that he started to really show that he was having a tough time. the easy, happy, agreeable little monster became so unhappy, crying and tantruming and obsessing and generally spreading misery and creating stress and unpleasantness all day, every day.

we knew all the change would be tough for him, but we didn't really have any idea what that meant. we didn't know that it would be tough for all of us - we hadn't realized that his misery meant our misery. i suppose i knew that i would worry, that it would hurt me to see him struggle, but i didn't realize how it would transform us and our time into the bundle of anxiety that we became, switching continuously from understanding and compassion to fed up and angry to patient but firm to worried and sad. and guilty, of course.

anyways, all that said to explain one half of the dream - the monster not swimming well and my drowning as a result. it's such a great description. when you're drowning you don't have perspective. you don't know that eventually everything will work out okay. you don't appreciate being 'a little closer' to the surface. you panic. you get scared. maybe you flop around trying to save yourself, or maybe you give in to it and keep slipping further away. in my dream i flopped around, and in real life too, trying to figure out what was going on for the monster, how we could help him.

then in my dream, and in real life, i bobbed back up to the surface. the monster was swimming! he was happy and thriving! at first it really was like that - an overnight change. there have since been ups and downs, good days and bad days, but that first time that he showed us his happy little curious and good-natured self again after about 3 months of tears and struggle was literally, in my dream, a breath of fresh air. he was swimming, and so i could breathe again.

what i most remembered when i woke up from my dream was the pride i felt in him when he started swimming. relief that i was no longer drowning too, but even stronger was my joy in his accomplishment - 'go monster go!'

i am so tied to him. and in my dream i was helpless. i couldn't help him swim, but my life depended on it. in real life though, especially now while he's little, i'm not entirely helpless. i can at least try to help him with tough changes and difficult times. the question is how...

1 comment:

Bobcat said...

It seems to me that this is also a reflection of how you are still one with your baby. While Monster is growing and naturally pulling away, becoming independent, and treading new waters, you are ultimately affected. For the longest time, it was Monster who was affected if you needed to pull away, or even if you were still beside him but pulled him in a new direction with you.

Sometimes I wonder if the growing pains are harder and more debilitating on we who grew the monsters in our belly than they are on the monsters themselves.

Amazing mothering dream, S!

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