Yesterday, middle daughter “G” turned 16 and got her driver’s license. Tomorrow morning we load up two vehicles and move oldest daughter “C” into a dorm at Baylor University (an event I waxed maudlin and treacly about in this post a couple of weeks ago).
That’s a lot of change to process in a 48-hour windowâ€”especially for my sweet wife.
She’s the one who did most of the driver’s training paperwork and accompaniedÂ “G” to the DMV. She’s the one who’s been staying up late nights sewing bedding, curtains, pillowsÂ andÂ things for the dorm room. She’s the one fully caughtÂ in theÂ cyclonic windsÂ of emotion generated by theÂ these two milestone events. (Topped off by the implausible reality that “O,” a.k.a., “the baby,” turned 14 a couple of weeks ago.)
So how’s she holding up?
Â Well, at 1:32 a.m. this morning my wife gasped, threw off the covers, leapt out of bed, and frantically yelled, “Oh my gosh! We forgot to pick up the babies!”
After a few heart-pounding, disoriented seconds, I realized she was dreaming. Her eyes were open. She was talking and responding to me. But she was asleepâ€”in the midst of aÂ sort of night terror. (This is something she has experienced in the past during times of great pressure or emotional turmoil.)
As I learned later, in this particular nightmare all three of our daughters were babies again. And we had somehow, someway, lost them. And they weren’t with us any more.
“It’s okay honey,” I told her. “You’re dreaming.”
“Where are the babies!?”
“Honey, everything’s okay. We don’t have any babies.”
She turned to look at me. In the soft light of the digital alarm clock her face moved from alarm; to confusion as she begin to cross over into wakefulness; to. . . sadness.
This morning, as she recalled the episode, she told me that at that point, she realized she had been dreaming and basically said to herself:
“Oh. Right. The girls areÂ big now. But where are they? Are they safe? She went up the list in her mind, O: She’s upstairs in bed. G: she’s spending the night with a friend. C: Did she make it home? I didn’t hearÂ the door. It’s 1:30. . .is she home?”
She went up stairs and found C safe in her room, in bed. We hadn’t heard her come in earlier.
We laughed about it this morning. But it wasn’t so funny last night.
You see, time and Nature and Nature’s God have done their thing.Â That meansÂ both of us, each in our own wayâ€”in myÂ blog posts and in her dreamsâ€”mustÂ come to grips with the truth:
We don’t have any babies.