“How did you sleep?” “Did you have any dreams?” Each morning begins the same way. While rubbing eyes and stretching long thin arms, we ask each other how the night was. We’ve talked about dreams since the kids could talk, or since they first started having dreams. I can’t remember which came first. When Jen was little, she felt left out if Will and I were discussing our dreams, and she didn’t have a dream to share. I don’t know if she just couldn’t remember, or if she had a hard time with the difference between dreams and reality. When it was her turn to talk about her dream she’d always say, “It was about a snowman.” And that was it.
Last night she had a symbolic dream about ‘a guy’ that cut her shadow in half. When she realized that he cut her shadow in two pieces, she cried for a whole day. When she had finished crying, her shadow became whole again. But just as the shadow became one, ‘the guy’ cut her bunny in half. (This was the very special pink bunny that she had gotten when she was in the hospital with pneumonia.) So with tears in her eyes, she brought the bunny to me, and I “sewed the bunny all up and it was good as new.”
I have always felt that we process things and solve problems in our dreams. Some of us are lucky enough to remember dreams, and then we can hang on to what the dream means. Some of us don’t remember much about our dreams. I’ve taken the approach that if we talk about them everyday, we start to remember them more, and we’ll have better access to the lessons. In Jen’s case, each time I’d prompt her to tell us about her dream, all she could come up with was the snowman. But after awhile, she seemed to listen to herself more, and she started remembering her dreams. It’s kind of like intuition — if you stop paying attention to intuition, it will stop speaking to you.
That being said, sometimes (a lot of times) dreams are too bizarre to have any real tangible significance to anything in ‘real’ life. But there’s nothing wrong with a little comic relief in the morning. For example, Jen’s other dream last night was about catching friendly, minuscule rubber-headed leprechauns in a tiny paper house. Not sure where to go with that other than the kids set a trap every year to try to catch Larry the Leprechaun. Maybe she’s working out a plan for a new trap.
Jenny’s dream about ‘the guy’ is pretty straight forward. To me it says, her dad is squashing her spirit (cutting her shadow in half). She has been afraid to cry out when her dad does something that denies who she really is. She is learning the value in crying — showing who she is and how she feels. And as she lets herself out, her spirit (shadow) can be whole. And sometimes she just needs a little help from her mom.