Friday, April 22, 2011

Someone Saved My Life Tonight

As many of you know, I can be a bit of an intense person. I feel things very acutely, and I have a sense of justice that often gets very violated in this crazy mixed up world of ours. I get mad or sad about things I can't control. It's why I quit watching the news several years ago. I've been like this from birth--my father just loves to tell people about how as a baby I would constantly keep my fists clenched so tight they would have to pry them open to clean out the lint every so often. Obviously, this intensity isn't a phase I will eventually grow out of without work. I prefer to call it "passion" since it sounds better.
However, I also have extremely vivid dreams that I have a hard time shaking, and when you couple the two, things can get a little hairy. I know my dreams aren't real, but I have a hard time shaking the feelings they gave me. I remember being upset with my dad for days when I was a teenager because I dreamed he left my mom. I try not to let it effect my interactions with the person, because I'm not crazy, but after a particular dream, I may need a little space while I sort out my head.
Last night, however, I had a dream that I reacted very strongly to what is unfortunately a very real situation (involving a young child which is the only reason I even care). I don't have any control of, or even a stake in, the situation in real life (and there's no actual abuse involved or anything that would make it my business), but in my dream I totally took this person to task for their selfish behavior. I went ballistic and said some horrible (but well deserved) things. Ripped into this person like a monkey on a cupcake. When I finally woke up I was drenched with sweat, my hands were shaking with anger, I had a migraine that had returned in full force from earlier that day, I was nauseated, on the verge of crying--talk about the least restful sleep I've ever had. It was 4:30am. I can not remember ever in my life being so angry. Honestly, I think all the stress I've felt from a thousand things came bursting out in that dream at one target. I tried to calm myself down but I could not go back to sleep. Daniel woke up at 5 for work, and found me still sitting up fuming and stuck in a vicious cycle--I was mad about the whole situation (remember, the situation was real), I was upset at my dream, I was mad at myself for caring enough to waste a night of desired sleep on the situation, I was mad at myself for not being able to calm down, I was only fueling the fire by being mad at myself after the fact. When I told Daniel my predicament, it was impossible for him to fully hide his desire to crack up. It was just so characteristically me. He agreed with me when I said it wasn't at all healthy for me to be upset about someone else's issues.
So after Daniel went to work, there I was sitting on the bed trying to calm myself down and getting more irked as I watched the minutes of my all too short a time with two sleeping kids tick away. Sam came in weeping at 5:41 am exactly. She looked at me in tears, arms full of blankies and said "Did Daddy throw my blankies in the garbage?" Oh no. I had another generation of vivid dreamers on my hands, trying to sort out real from imaginary. This is at least the second time this week she has come to me asking if someone did something to her that they clearly didn't. The night before, she dreamed someone stretched her legs like taffy (all the way to Daniel's work!) and proceeded to ask about it all day and check on her shins.
"Well, Sam, your blankies are in your arms right here, so no, they aren't in the garbage. Did you dream that Daddy threw them away?" She told me she did, and asked if it was "Real or not real?"
I brought her into my bed, and told her I was awake from bad dreams too. I talked to her about how she could know her dreams weren't real (her blankies were in her arms, Daddy would never try to be mean to her, etc..). We cuddled and as I helped her, I realized I had to calm myself too, if only for her sake. Staying all worked up over something I didn't actually do was a luxury I couldn't afford. I couldn't do it on my own but as I talked to her about relaxing and realized how important it was to know real from imaginary I found my anger disappearing. Soon we were just happily snuggling together and giggling at Peyton's insanely loud farting from his bassinet (it's his most impressive skill). She never did go back to sleep, but its because she was too excited to start her day, and that's just how Sam is. I, however, feel fine and have fully recovered from the anger I felt, the fastest I have ever recovered, despite the fact that it is the worst incidence of this vivid dreaming I have yet faced. Never before has my reaction to a dream been so physically real to the point of making me feel pain and sickness.
I am so thankful for my kids everyday, and how they force me to overcome my fears, and bad habits, so I can try raise them the way they need to be raised. I couldn't iron out all my rough spots if I didn't have them pointing out where they are and driving me to change. If I didn't need to be an example and know very small people were watching me, I would probably never get over certain obstacles.
It's amazing how you can feel so much love for such small people that you will change what you previously considered unchangeable, give what considered ungivable, love what you considered unlovable. I have waded in the ocean even though it terrifies me simply because I don't want them to inherit my fears (in this case, a triple whammy of swimsuits, sharks, and germs. Seriously, the ocean is nature's toilet, have you ever seen a nature show? Disgusting.) Despite initially planning otherwise, I have given up my job and career and devoted all my time--24-hours a day--to taking care of my children, because I felt it was right for them and for us. I never thought I would do that, and it hasn't exactly always been easy. I have spent hours looking for what I would consider the worlds' dumbest/ugliest/most obnoxious toy, and hugged it with joy upon finding it so I could bring it "home" to it's rightful owner. I have fallen head over heels in love with someone that pukes and poops on me on a regular basis.
So, thank you to my children for reflecting my imperfections back to me, so I can help not only you avoid being crippled by them, but can finally find the strength to change them for myself. I love you that much.

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