Monday, June 2, 2008

My take...

My second baby girl, how I love you

Thanks, Jen and Meg, it was interesting to hear your takes on my weird dream...

To me, the dream symbolized a lot of what these two pointed out: my anxiety about keeping my family safe, the careening, out of control feeling that mothering often takes, and the strangely peaceful and safe landing despite the harrowing voyage.

There was one piece, though, that really stood out to me, and it was Charlotte's empty infant car seat. The symbolism of her missing in the family is obvious enough. But there is another piece. Just recently, my friend Erin asked me: Do you ever dream about Charlotte?
I answered her honestly, and sadly. "I did, I used to. But I don't anymore."

And it's true. In the beginning, I dreamed of her often. The dreams weren't ususally pleasant. She was going in for heart surgery, dying. She was taken from me at birth, was now being raised by another family. Dozens of dreams of her as a one year old, drowning. A few, scant, dreams of me, nursing a tiny infant dressed in yellow, but at the time that those happened, I was pregnant with Liam, and never felt certain whether the child was Charlotte or the baby I was growing at the time.

In all of these dreams, Charlotte was as I imagined her, but she also was what I had known her as: a baby. In many, she was the actual child I held in my arms that May 13th, in others her face was shielded, or I saw only her back.
What, now, do I have to envison her with? I feel left with nothing. As a baby, I felt I knew my daughter, I knew who she was, I could imagine what she would look like crying, nursing, sleeping. And now, I know not what color her hair might be, her eyes, or her build. I have no leads even, save looking at Liam and Aoife and deciding that perhaps Charlotte's hair also would have turned wheat-blonde and her eyes would have been a dark grey blue. Then I imagine those families I know where curls pop out of nowhere, or I look at Greg's amazing light green eyes, veined with lines of tiger orangey brown like a topographical map, and I wonder about Charlotte. She could have those eyes. Maybe she had my dimples. Maybe she would have been small. I don't know.

So I have been more aware, lately, of the fact that I only really know Charlotte as a baby, and I feel saddened that I do feel more distant from her, as my vision of her clouds.

And so, it seemed obvious to me that instead of the empty seat big enough for a five year old girl, there was an empty seat big enough for the tiny infant that I once knew. The little car seat bought just for her, which I eagerly freecycled a few months ago, knowing it would be outdated for my next child and also knowing that it would never be within my power to throw away the car seat. So I heard of a woman taking in foster babies in need of a car seat and I lovingly wiped the dust from the frame and left it on my porch for her to take away, while I was out, so I didn't have to see her drive away with it.
It would be interesting for me if I had more dreams. Whenever one like this comes up, I feel grateful for it, almost as if it's telling me something I didn't already know. Seems I'm sleeping soundly, though, now that my 2 year, 2 month old daughter has finally started to sleep through the night (12 hours!) more often than not. For this, I am grateful. I am ready for a good night's sleep.

1 comment:

CLC said...

She's beautiful. I love that picture. The background looks so lush.

I have dreams similar to what you described you had in the beginning. The ones where she dies or is taken from me in a violent way. Some days I wish I didn't have them, but reading this, it makes me more scared to think about the time when I won't. I just don't want to let go of her, ever.