Of course, since I wrote about it, I had that dream again last night. This time, I was pregnant with triplets and I wasn't showing at all. In real life, I have a pretty small frame and therefore would show relatively early. But in my dream, I was close to delivery and my stomach looked exactly the same. And I couldn't sift through my feelings to understand if I was happy or sad to discover that I missed my entire pregnancy and was about to deliver triplets.
In college, I had a friend named Fred who always carried a backpack full of junk. A bandaid dispenser, extra pens, a change of clothes. We loved making fun of him and going through his bag o' crap until one day when he witnessed a car accident. He pulled over to help and discovered that one of the passengers needed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The person who was about to administer the rescue breaths was paused over the man's mouth, staring at the blood around the man's lips and weighing the possibility of a blood borne illness. Fred to the rescue with the handy mouth-guard that he kept in his bag for such an occasion. You never know when you're going to have to give mouth-to-bloody-mouth in the era of HIV.
As much as I made fun of Fred, I too like being prepared. And why not be prepared? Why not carry the damn mouth-guard in your backpack if you don't care how much stuff you carry on your back? There is no harm that comes from being prepared as long as you don't place your anxieties about being prepared for everything before actually living life.
Which takes us back to this idea of instant motherhood and my dream. As excited as I would be to instantly gain a child in my family, I think I would feel a great deal of unease over not having that preparation time. Even if there isn't something that needs to get done (baby items can be purchased at most food stores so it wouldn't even require a trip to a baby mega store in order to become prepared instantaneously), I think I need that mental time to become a mother. I think I need the daydreaming and the what ifs that come during a pregnancy or during the adoption process. If I was actively trying to become a mother, I could certainly be ready in a heartbeat to raise a child. But if I was merely making a sandwich in my kitchen and then had a child handed to me?--well...I think I would flip out somewhat. I'd raise that child and love that child, but I'd probably feel more than a little off-kilter for an extended period of time.
My other reoccurring dream involves leaving for a vacation and realizing that I forgot to pack my camera. I'm not a photographer in the artistic sense of the word, but I love taking pictures. I feel this overwhelming need to record everything in my life. This is sort of the other end of the instant motherhood telescope--that burning desire to be able to look back at an experience and hold onto memories from an experience. And if you had instant motherhood, you'd miss out on all of those mental snapshots of yourself preparing for your imminent child. And I'm not just talking about painting the bedroom or buying clothing. I'm talking about those mental images that come back into play once you're parenting and you think back to how you imagined the experience. And the sense of peace that comes from having those mental images align. You dreamed about walking your child in the stroller and suddenly, you look down and realize that you're walking your child in a stroller. And there's peace. There's closure. It's like looking back at vacation photos.
Even freakier than having that dream last night was watching the Desperate Housewives episode a few minutes after posting my entry. If you haven't seen the episode, stop reading now. That's okay. I'll wait. Just shut down your browser or move onto the next blog.
In the episode, Lynette gains instant motherhood when a mother dies and she is given immediate custody of the child (to explain, Lynette's husband had a child with another woman prior to marriage. This child's mother died in the episode. Therefore, the father--Lynette's husband--will gain sole custody and by default, Lynette just became the mother). She was in the process of trying to gain custody, therefore it doesn't completely fit my hypothetical situation. But still, she never thought the mother would be killed and that would be how she would come to take care of this child. I think it will be interesting to see how this storyline unfolds. Is there any sense of regret over the suddenness of it all? Or are they only focused on Lynette's guilt?
Inquiring minds want to know...