Sweet Dreams


A few nights ago, I awoke to the sight of my daughter Ella standing by my side of the bed fully dressed, wet hair combed, and ready for school. I glanced at the clock—12:45 am.

“What’s the matter?” I asked, groggily.

“My alarm went off so I took my shower,” she replied. “I guess it was just a dream.”

“Go back to bed. It’s the middle of the night,” I told her.

“Should I change?” she asked, pointing down at her blue jeans, t-shirt, and cardigan.

“No. Just go to bed.”

The next morning I reflected on the weird sleep practices of my kids and I did what I always do when it comes to oddities in my offspring—I blamed it on my husband.

Before we were married, I heard stories from Brent’s roommates about his frequent sleepwalking (or sometimes sleep running). Once he was found sitting in the corner of his dorm room playing an invisible video game complete with sound effects of his own making.

After we were married, Brent continued with his nighttime activities. Once, I was shocked awake when he stood at the foot of our bed, yelled “Spiders!” and ripped the covers off me.

For a Labor Day weekend early in our marriage, we went to the beach with another married couple. We were too poor to get separate hotel rooms, so the four of us shared one room with two queen-sized beds. All through the night Brent attempted to answer the hotel phone that never rang. He also picked up a large cardboard carton of Whoppers candy. Slowly he turned it upside down, letting the hard chocolate candy balls bump into each other, creating a rainfall of clattering sounds. Not satisfied with the level of noise he had just made, he slowly turned the carton right side up, creating the racket again. Our friends lay in the bed next to us, shaking with laughter.

Now that we’ve been married more than fifteen years, I’ve noticed that his crazy sleep behavior has pretty much disappeared, or I’ve learned how to sleep through it. Now his only sleep-related strangeness comes in the form of dreams. We’ll be standing in our shared bathroom in the morning following a dream-filled night. As I insert my contacts, he’ll tell me some ridiculous scenario involving a person he hasn’t seen since middle school, his job at a McDonald’s with a malfunctioning cash register, and a sudden locale change to his grand parents’ house that was swiftly filling up with miniature marshmallows.

It’s always a weird feeling to get a few hours into your day before you see someone who you realize was in your dream. Even if his role in your dream is completely innocent, it feels oddly intimate and slightly embarrassing to see him. Recently and in the span of a few days, two different people told me they had a dream about me. In one instance, I was giving birth to a baby. In the other one, I was in a house packed full of kids. No matter if these dreams foreshadow any baby news or they just predict a future slumber, these dreams encourage me. They’re not embarrassing at all. These dreamers were thinking of me even in their subconscious. They could’ve been dreaming about marshmallows or spiders or Whoppers but their minds were full of me and kids.

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