Thursday, November 4, 2010

Two Dreams

Last night I couldn't sleep for awhile. Right before morning I began to drift off, and as often happens during those pre-dawn hours I plunged into several very vivid dreams.

In the first, I was walking with a group of friends. Most were Soup Group friends that I've gotten to know over the past few years...Lyssa, Christine, Suzanne, Sheila, Kelly. My friend Jen from my teenage years was there, too. In recent years in both real life and the dream Jen has drfited away and become a different person, and I've yearned for the way things used to be. In the dream as we walked I began to fall behind. I felt as if I were dragging and it was my heart rather than my legs that were heavy. I felt weighted down with sadness, wanting to connect with them, feeling as if they weren't ignoring me but just preoccupied and having fun in conversation. All of my sadness about Ethan and feeling alone made me start crying as I walked. Tears were streaming down my face as I looked down at my feet, wondering why I was wearing sandals when it was cold. My friend Jen was the closest and I began wishing she would see me, come back to me, and reach out to me. I was crying so hard I couldn't see. Then I felt a hand on my shoulder, but it wasn't Jen. It was Kelly. Kelly looked at me with these compassionate eyes, Kelly who had lost a baby daughter in a horrible way, and we made a connection. Next thing I knew she was ushering my ahead to join the others. I forgot all about the fact that my oldest friend had ignored me. It was time to move ahead from that and join people who did care about me.

I woke up not crying for real but breathing in that way as if I had been sobbing, in the dream.

In the next dream Dan and I lived in this apartment in Cannon Circle, next to my parents who still lived in the apartment where we'd lived when I was younger. There was a neighborhood right nearby though and we had been considering buying a certain house. We looked into it and things just didn't seem right, but suddenly we found out the house next to it, which was even better suited to us, was for sale. In this whirlwind over a couple of hours we looked around inside the house and talked to the owners and learned they were ready to start the selling process right then and there. I found myself so overwhelmed, in a good way but just thinking it was happening so fast and maybe I wasn't quite sure if we were doing the right thing. Suddenly my parents were there and Al and Debbie, friends of ours from the church we used to attend. "It's scary but so worth it when you go an take the plunge!" Debbie was saying. Al and Debbie have adopted three children from Africa. In the dream she was showing me a school picture of one of her adopted boys. He was beautiful. "I'm so proud of him," she was saying.

My parents were encouraging us, too. My mom knew I was struggling. I don't know what I said to her, but the last thing she said to me in the dream, which I think was in reference to sending Andy off to Higashi school was, "That's what dad and I did. We had to say goodbye first."

We had to say goodbye first. I woke up with a start. A good kind of jolt. Suddenly I understood everything that had happened Monday a little better. These kind and qualified teachers were offering us more services than I'd hoped for. They were saying they believed in my son and his potential. But I was so overwhelmed, mostly because I hadn't said goodbye yet.

Not goodbye to Ethan's potential. Not goodbye to a good future. But goodbye to the exact way he was going to get there. I hadn't completely adopted new expectations. With all of this you can think you're doing so well, until (not unlike a child with ASD) the situation changes and it's all new and well, there can be adjustment problems. If as a parent you haven't said goodbye first. If you haven't said goodbye to the cocoon of birth to 3 where you can pretend your son just needs a little extra help and then he's going to catch up. Goodbye to the idea of fixing him to make him tyical. Is it saying goodbye to some dreams? Maybe. But I don't think we need to let go of every single one all at once. As Dan has said, "Let him show us how far he can go." Is it saying goodbye to expectations? Again, I say emphatically NO. But I have to let go of him being just like everyone else. (Just like I have to let go of ME being just like everyone else). I have to release him from that and see how he soars. I have to adopt this new way of thinking and seeing my son. A way that still for sure fills my heart with pride and love.

Suddenly, I can't wait for Ethan to start school.

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