Friday, January 4, 2013

What He Dreams

I used to wonder if Ethan would be able to tell us what he dreams. I figured if he could, it'd be like peering through a little window and seeing how his brain ticks.

Dreams are funny. You ever notice this? The ones you remember are usually the bad and scary ones. For years I had recurring nightmares about a tornado that always almost whipped me off into oblivion and an elevator that would plunge endlessly (of course, I'd awaken just before the thing crashed). I even had this bizarre dream as a child about being chased by wild dogs and attempting to climb a tree to escape them, that actually ended with horror movie soundtrack-like music and a voice-over that said menacingly, "To be continued."

My only really good dream? The one I remember waking and feeling so happy and then so sad that it wasn't real? I wish I could say it was deep and full of meaning and mystery and goodness  Let's just say it was back in my pre-teen, Kirk Cameron-obsessed, big hair years. My friends and I were actually in Canoga Park. California! Approaching his home! And then thrilled as he came out and rode bikes with us. (I'm hanging my head in embarrassment now).

But I don't know. Maybe I shouldn't be so embarrassed. These are the kinds of dreams Ethan dreams. Three times in the past few weeks he's shared them with us. The first was after he and Dan had spent a good deal of time putting together a 100-piece puzzle, only to find there was one piece missing.

"I dreamed I found the one piece and then the puzzle had 100 pieces!" he announced at breakfast. I celebrated with him. Who doesn't hate staring at a puzzle with one stinking piece missing? His dream solved the problem.

Near Christmas, he told us about a dream that involved a pipe that ran under our house and down the street. Apparently we all got to walk in it. "Were you scared?" I asked. "No," he answered matter-of-factly, as if that was a dumb question. Following the paths of our pipes was a treat, apparently.

The other day we drove over train tracks in a nearby town. "When does the train come?" he asked, impatiently. I feel bad for the kid. Apparently that train comes around noon and we are always there earlier in the morning. One glorious day in the summer we caught the train, but never since.

The next morning as soon as Ethan woke up he bounded down the stairs. "I dreamed the gates went down because the train came!" he announced, full of glee. "And the red lights were flashing. All of the red lights." I think he was picturing the whole thing in his mind. He had that same look, the faraway one I'd probably gotten when I'd recalled looking into Kirk Cameron's dreamy green eyes.

Right now at least, Ethan's dream are not nightmares chasing him out of sleep. And they do give a glimpse into what he's thinking. His dreams are about the things that make him happy -- trains and lights, puzzles and pipes.

He shares without abandon and with joy, not thinking of how he may be perceived, or caring that other people might not think those things are so exciting.

I love that.

An addendum: I wrote this while everyone was sleeping, and five minutes after posting Ethan woke up and came down the stairs. I asked him what he had dreamed. He said that our cat Timothy had run out the front door and gotten hit by a car. "And Levi was sad," he said, referring to our other cat. "Why?" I asked. "Because he didn't have Timothy anymore," he answered. I was simultaneously blown away at his understanding and ability to take another's point of view, while feeling a little sad. Maybe the days of carefree dreams are already coming to an end.


Jayna said...

Beautifully written, Deb. I still hold on to dreams my sons shared with me when they were little. Thanks for sharing!

Floortime Lite Mama said...

Such a lovely post
I usually dream bad things happening too !!!
Loved your son's dreams and happy new year

Anonymous said...

It's such a blessing to get a glimpse into their minds. Sweet dreams, little Ethan.

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