The dreams are nightly, and they are intense. Partly, of course, this is due to the pregnancy hormones. Pregnant dreams are vibrant and alive in a way people who have never had them cannot completely comprehend. But, that is only a partial explanation. I can account for their intensity, but not for their subject matter.
I have been dreaming of my father lately.
I do not dream of his wife, the woman who hurt me so thoroughly and so frequently throughout my childhood. I do not dream of the physical pain. I dream of him. Now. Seeing him now. I dream of buying their house. I dream of confronting him.
There is not the same fear as before, although there is still anxiety. I am still not sanguine about the idea of seeing the man with so little parenting instinct that he let his children disappear from his life. Those of you with children just try to imagine this. He let his children simply disappear from his life.
I am sure the stress of living a temporary, rootless life just now contributes to these dreams. And I am not surprised. The last year has been about healing, coming to terms, growing, and letting go. But I am not naïve. There is pain that never goes away. There are sadnesses we cannot get over. They will stay with us.
The best we can ever hope for is to learn how to process them better. You cannot put your past behind you any more than you can go home again.
“And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” F. Scott Fitzgerald was buried under the famous last line of his most famous book. (And, yes, I know the line by heart. And, yes, I have visited his grave. I have never denied being a dork.) Fitzgerald, he never learned how to steer the boat and was at the mercy of the current. If we can learn to navigate and work with the current as it flows, we can move forwards even as we accept the waters of the past.
Pregnant with my third child, worrying about my sons, building a career that fills me with hope, feeling closer than ever to my husband even though I never fucking see him, I accept those dreams for what they are – part but not the sum of me.
Welcome to the rest of my life.