Last night I had a dream that I’ve had many times before. Actually, the dream hasn’t always been the same, but the theme of the dream is always the same. I have two children and ever since my second child was born I’ve had recurring dreams that he has been left at daycare–or left somewhere–with no one to pick him up. When he was little, I use to interpret these dreams literally, that I was afraid that he would get left at daycare–after all, he was my baby and that must have been a deeply rooted fear of mine.
Last night, though, I had this dream again. But now my “baby” is almost 14 years old! The dream was so vivid, the feeling of panic so real, that when I awoke I was relieved and did not want to fall back asleep because it was just too terrifying. Last night’s dream was set in the present age, where I was trying to use my iPhone to call my sister to make sure she was picking him up but I could not figure out how to make the call. I tried pressing all sorts of things and nothing worked. It was getting late, almost 6:00 in the evening and I knew he was there alone. I was so worried and so panicked. In my dream, I could see him again, as a blond little 2 year old.
When I told my husband about my dream this morning and how real the emotions were, he immediately said I had to start letting go of my baby. And I knew, in my heart, that he was right. At this time in my life anyway, this dream was about my fear and dread of having to start let go. This is my son’s last year in middle school and next year, for the first time since he started school, I will not be working at the school he is attending. When I watched last year’s eighth graders graduate, I knew that this year would not be an easy one for me. Everything would be “the last time”. This will be the last time I teach him, the last time I see him in the cafeteria, the last time we pass each other in the halls, the last time we celebrate school mass together–alot of last times. At least with my first son I knew I would have more moments with my second. But now, these really are “the last times”. Yes, I know intellectually that there are “new times, first times” that lie ahead, but my heart does not want to let go of all those “last times”.
And I wonder, as a mother who loves her children as only a mother can, if since the day my second child was born and I started having these awful dreams, if I was experiencing this fear of having to let my last child go from the moment he left my womb.
But God speaks to us always. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our deepest fears and He sees our dreams. He is the Great Comforter. For today, my devotional read:
“Entrust your loved ones to me; release them into my protective care. They are much safer with Me than in your clinging hands….I detest idolatry, even in the form of parental love, so beware of making a beloved child your idol. When you release loved ones to Me, you are free to cling to My hand. My Presence will go with them wherever they go, and I will give them rest. This same Presence stays with you as you relax and place your trust in me. Watch to see what I will do.”
–Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Devotional for August 23.