The other night I had a dream. In the dream I gave birth to a beautiful daughter, and she was whisked away by family members and friends who wanted to hold her, and in all the rush I forgot to give her a name.
Next thing I knew, I was holding her in the lobby at church. It was time to go in to the service, but everyone was stopping to say hello to my daughter. I heard them call her Katie, and I thought vaguely that something was wrong, that I hadn’t meant to name her after myself, that I had meant to name her Carrie or perhaps Elise. But the name had stuck, and as I looked at her, she was the spitting image of me as a child—crazy curly ringlets, blue eyes, a bright face. It was as though before this moment I hadn’t really seen her or felt the impact of her presence. But now, looking at her, I loved her in a way I had never loved anyone before. I adored the beauty of her face, the music of her laughter, the warmth and lightness of her body in my arms.
I brought her in to the bright sanctuary, and by this time she had gotten heavier; she had grown into a toddler, perhaps two years old. She was good and smart and fun to talk to, and as the hymn began she danced along. In the middle of the song she told me she was thirsty. So we left the service and walked back into the kitchen, and I searched through cupboards for a cup I could use to give her a drink. All I could find in the cupboards were construction paper cups, like a child’s art project, and some extremely nice ceramic pottery cups that were labeled for sale. I kept searching but some kitchen ladies were standing in the way, and I couldn’t find anything else.
As I waited for them to move from in front of the cupboards she chatted and giggled with the kitchen ladies, thinking I love her so much, I have never felt anything like this before. I will make sure she has everything she needs, and I will never let anything come between us. I wanted to rush home or wherever John was and tell him how much I loved our daughter.
I caved and pulled out a lovely ceramic mug, and gave her a drink, and as we were walking back to the service, I woke up.
Very rarely do I have a dream that leaves me with such intense joy. Perhaps once every couple of years, I wake up with this kind of contentment, love, an awe or longing for beauty that remains even in the waking world.
I opened my eyes, and Sunday morning light was streaming gently in, and I stared at the ceiling, going back over the beautiful moments of the dream.
My first thought was that I already love my future daughter, that much, that this dream was some kind of foretaste of the intensity of a mother’s love.
But I don’t know for sure if I will ever have a daughter. Certainly not anytime soon.
This baby girl was named Katie and looked exactly like me.
Perhaps it wasn’t a dream about my future motherhood.
Perhaps it was a tiny glimpse of what my mother felt, and still feels, for me. Why her face is radiant in the just-home-from-the-hospital pictures. Why she still reads every blog entry and memorizes every friend’s name and visits no matter where I live.
Or perhaps it is a glimpse of another Divine Parent’s unconditional love for me. Adoring, protecting, rejoicing, aching for me to be safe and good and whole.
Could a dream have somehow given me a way to see myself from the outside? Could I really be so beautiful and beloved? Could I? Could you?
Linking up again with Kirsten Oliphant and others this week on the theme of “love.”