They say that dreams are a window to the soul -- and for me, that notion was proved true the other night. Deep in sleep, I dreamed that I had just returned from an outing; my parents and daughter were waiting for me, but my son was nowhere to be seen.
"Where's Chase?" I asked.
"We thought he was with you," they responded. In that instant, I realized he gone. As my panic cascaded me into a pit of despair, I heard a small voice.
I opened my eyes to see Chase standing at my bedside. I was in my room, and I was not dreaming.
"I had a bad dream," he said. "I dreamt that you left me somewhere. At a shopping mall."
I comforted him as I walked him back to his bed, and when I tucked him in, I promised that I would never ever leave him anywhere -- that he would always be safe with me.
But as I walked back to my own bed, my mind was spinning. How uncanny that the two of us seemed to be locked in the same bad dream! And wasn't it strange that Chase was the one to break the spell and end the agony of my nightmare?
Stranger still, I almost never dream about my kids (though the same can't be said about random people at work, old boyfriends, and dessert buffet tables going into infinity). And since I almost always wake up remembering some shard or fragment from my dream the night before, why don't I dream about the two people who are most important to me?
It bothers me. As a single working mother, it doesn't take much to feel insecure. I'm traveling, I'm at the office and, when I can, trying to fit in a yoga class or a phone call with a girlfriend so I can still feel a connection to my old self. I long to be with my kids, and once I am, I turn into the family general -- the head, as Reese Witherspoon put it in a recent Vanity Fair article, of "military operations." Get dressed! Brush your teeth! Put on your shoes! Get in the car! I'm always barking some instruction at them instead of appreciating the joy and wonder that they contribute to my life in the first place.
But the other night changed my perspective. Whether or not I dream about my kids, there's some special bond that connects us through dreamscapes: a world away from time, space -- and even military operations.