Sunday, October 16, 2016

If Wishes Were Horses

“There are certain half-dreaming moods of mind in which we naturally steal away from noise and glare, and seek some quiet haunt where we may indulge our reveries and build our air castles undisturbed.” – Washington Irving

Sleep is hard for me to come by. I haven’t slept through the night since my son died 14 years ago. Most nights are riddled with nightmares that linger over past trauma: my son’s death, the night I was raped, my husband’s death, the house fire. I relive these moments often in my waking life, and having to go through them again in my sleep just feels like a special kind of torment.

But sometimes, the universe grants me a good dream.

There are moments during the day when I find myself zoning out. I get lost in the fantastical creation of a daydream and just let myself go with it. It brings me such relief, such joy.

I have been a single mother almost all of my parental life. It isn’t easy, of course, and I would have preferred it otherwise. But the universe didn’t ask my preference. My husband died and I was left with a toddler and a baby on the way. It seemed like worrying was all I did.

Would I be able to give my kids what I wanted to give them?

Would I be able to make the life I wanted to make?

Would my being a single mother somehow be damaging to my children?

Would my kids be okay if something happens to me?

I want to know that no matter what happens to me, my children will be provided for. This is my greatest wish. I have countless daydreams about how this will be fulfilled.

In my favorite, my girls and I are having a normal day at home when we hear the doorbell ring. I open the door to see Ellen DeGeneres standing there holding a Coke Icee. She tells me that, from one Texas girl to another, she understands tough times and she has come to tell me she has set up trust funds for both my girls. And then she sends us on a Disney cruise. Why Ellen DeGeneres? Because I think she’s a hoot. She’s down to earth, super funny, and genuinely seems to care about people. I have no idea why a Disney cruise and not a visit to Disney World, but my mind threw it in there and it appears that way every single time.

Sometimes, it’s Tom Hanks or Oprah Winfrey instead of Ellen DeGeneres. But the rest of the dream is the same.

The other dream I have is probably much more common: I win the lottery. Who hasn’t dreamt of winning the lottery at one time or another? But I’m afraid I would be very boring with my winnings. I would set up trust funds for my girls. I would pay off my mortgage. I would pay off my siblings’ mortgages/cars/student loans/other debt. I would set up trust funds for my nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. I would repay my parents as much as they would allow me to repay them for everything they have done for me in my life. I would endow a scholarship at my college. Then I would find a financial someone to assist with other investments.

To me, security is happiness. I’ve had very little security in my adult life. To know that my kids will be provided for is the fluffiest, rainbow-hued unicorn dream I have. On those rare nights I get to have a happy dream, it’s almost always about securing the future for my children. It is always my go-to daydream.

I work hard for my family. I’m a single mom. I’m a teacher. I am doing my best to take care of my family and we are doing okay. But there is always that niggling worry about the future, about what would happen to my kids if something happens to me. My daydreams allow a moment of escape from all the Greek tragedy that piles up around me. They allow a brief time of relief from the pressures of being responsible for everything.

In my dreams, my children’s future is secure. That is the greatest wish that could ever come true.

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