Dreams

Last night I had a dream that I was about to jump out of a plane.

You know how in dreams, things aren’t exactly the way they are in real life, but yet, you know exactly what they are meant to be?  Well, I wasn’t in an airplane, like a normal airplane.  I was in a large tin cylinder, with the openings facing north and south.  So, if I looked down, I could see the sky and the ground faraway beneath.  I never looked up.

In the midst of my terror, I somehow managed to be captured by the beauty of the heavens: an infusion of cold that tickled my arms with goosebumps; the smell of clean air, that scent we’re always trying to capture in air fresheners and laundry detergent; the never-ending, cottony puffs of clouds glued to a blanket of ice-blue sky; the warm, comforting rays of the sun; the peacefulness that beckoned beneath the roar of the plane’s engine, if my ears could only reach deep enough to claim it.

Someone called out, “3…2…1…GO!” and I was supposed to let go.

But I did not.

My eleven-year-old daughter was in front of me, or beneath me, in some weird configuration that’s only possible in a dream.

She let go.

I remember hearing her elated squeal as she slipped away from me, growing smaller and smaller, down through the bottom hole in the cylinder, and finally plunging into the sky towards the brown and green patches of earth below.

I remember no longer being able to see her.  I remember feeling afraid for her safety, but impressed with her nerve.  I remember wondering if she would ever come back to me.

I still did not let go.  My fear got the best of me, which is not surprising.

Many times in my life, childhood through young adulthood, have been characterized by a desire to try new things and not having the courage to follow through.  I’ve grown better at this in my 40’s.  The fact that this blog exists is pretty major.  But I am also old enough to know that I am not going to push myself so hard that it will draw blood.

But my daughter?  Not like me at all.

She decides she wants to try something, and ten minutes later, she’s doing it.

Surfing? Check. No problem forgetting the sharks we just saw at the aquarium, plunging herself into the ice cold Pacific ocean with a strange man/instructor, surfboard tethered to her ankle, swept out further than I would allow myself to comprehend.  She popped up on the surfboard on her second try.

A new sport?  Sure thing.  Breaking her dance girl stereotype, she stepped right up for the volleyball team and has pursued it with a commitment I’m not sure I’d have given her credit for a few months ago.

Me?  As a kid, I would have wanted to surf but would have been caught at the shoreline paralyzed by the what ifs.  As a twenty-something, I desperately wanted to join the company’s softball team - it looked like such fun - but instead of giving it my best shot, I hid in the car in the parking lot, tail between my legs, like the lion in The Wizard of Oz.

My daughter is like me in so many ways, introverted, shy, and somewhat awkward.  But in so many other ways, I see my sister, my aunts, and other yet-to-be-named DNA in her.  When she was little, I thought of her as an extension of myself.  The call of adolescence will be recognizing her uniqueness and embracing her capability to outdo me.

It’s not hard, really.  Isn’t that the unspoken parenting wet dream all parents have?  For our kids to turn out better than we did, even though we’re perfectly fine?

So I’m going to sit back and keep letting her put me to shame.  Who knows, maybe she’ll inspire me to pick up a surfboard or a softball glove.

But one thing I can promise you:  I'm never jumping out of a plane.


Mama’s Losin’ It

Comments

  1. This is SO me! my kids continue to amaze me with the brave way they live their lives, and I'm so proud they are able to do that. I'd love to be brave and spontaneous, but it just isn't ME. I'm a list-maker, comparison shopper, and constant second-guesser. Oh, well, it takes all kinds!

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    1. I am with you on all that, Angie! It's fun to see our kids turn out so different from us.

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  2. I loved this - such good writing. I can so relate to this too. One of my daughters is in the Philippines and the other in India. They inspire me to be more adventurous too.

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    1. Wow, you do have some adventurous daughters, and that is completely wonderful. Hope you get to visit them often!

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  3. Your dream... you post, is so inspiring. I loved the interpretation of it. Writing about the "heavens" was just beautiful!

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  4. Well, that dream pretty much sums up a mother's fears and hopes with a nice sky blue bow! I love when that happens.

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  5. It is amazing to watch our kids, who can seem so much like us at one moment, but then have all of these amazing differences!

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    1. It's pretty cool! Thanks for reading, Andrea.

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  6. Wow! What a beautiful dream! I wouldn't have jumped either. These kids are always surprising us though aren't they? We're supposed to be their teachers, but it definitely works both ways.

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