There is a secret about dreams. The secret is to never believe that you completely have them figured out.
About a month ago, on a very chilly night up in the mountains camping near that most beautiful lake at which I'd seen THE sunrise - the one that was ethereal, moving, fantastic - I had a dream.
The dream was, in essence about a man coming to me and saying, "We have this new school, this new program, this new classroom and we want YOU to teach in it. Will you do it?" It was the BEST school dream I've ever had. It was a dream about me achieving my dream because the Universe had decided to hand it to me. It felt like it was saying, "So, you've waited long enough...this is going to come at you easy-like, and give you all sorts of opportunity to bask in your worthiness and your excellence." Yup, it was a gooood dream.
Now, let's skip ahead a couple of weeks from that dreamy night. A friend leaves me a voice mail: "You have to apply to a job for the Parks and Rec. Call me." She leaves me an email: "Call me about this job you must do." I'm all in a tizzy wondering what in the world she is talking about...she calls again and I think as I see her number come up, "What? Why?!" When I pick it up she is adamant that I MUST apply to a [frickin] Kindergarten job that is being offered through the parks and rec district. I was taken aback...what? Why me? I've never taught Kindergarten. NEVER. N.E.V.E.R.
I was a little bit livid...who did she think she was telling me what I should or shouldn't do? Moments - literally like 5 minutes - later my husband calls, "Did you call J? She thinks you should apply to that Kindergarten job. I'd do it if I were you."
WHAT IS THIS CONSPIRACY?! I can't understand it. I'm mad, I'm fussing around my house muttering things like, "Why...little beasts...never...ever...what?"
That night, a separate friend sends me a facebook message with these words: "thought you'd be interested" ...and the link for the Kindergarten job. I didn't answer her. I was so mad I wanted to kick something. Who did these people think they were? I'm a Middle School teacher. I've never ever ever expressed interest in teaching Kindergarten. I've only shivered and said, "Oh you brave soul" to Kindergarten teachers. I was NOT one of THEM. I wasn't...besides...I don't...I don't know the first thing about it...
I'm certain I never want to even HEAR someone even getting close to telling me I should teach Kindergarten again, when I have dinner with my dear friend Alma...yes...I scoffed and told her all sorts of high-minded things about all of these "people" who keep telling me to apply to a job I'd never in a million years apply to. She smiled the whole time I talked and then said, "Be careful what you say you'll never do. The Universe is listening." I think I wrinkled up my nose at her and had another swig of Knotty Blonde Pale Ale. END.OF.DISCUSSION.ALMA.
A week later (that was, um, today), my husband is hanging out laundry quietly while I'm reading my book in the shade of the backyard, when he, quite nonchalantly, says, "Oh yeah, you got an email from [the guy who runs the parks and rec district] and he was wondering if you'd apply to that Kindergarten job."
"What? Why?! He doesn't even know me...what the hell is going on here? Don't these people...why...what...oh god."
I go and lay on my bed...angry. Why am I angry? What is going on here? So I stretch out on my bed, letting the tears just flow out of my eyes. this can't be my dream. this isn't what I was thinking of. this is isn't the job the man in my dream was offering me. I put my hands over my face and start silently sobbing. Then I hear my husband come in. I know he is thinking he must say and do the right thing right now...luckily, the kids come in as well and say, "What's wrong mommy?" My dearest says, "Kids, mommy needs hugs from you guys."
Very quickly, I feel my son with his entire top-half over my chest, arm around my neck, face buried in my shoulder in the BEST hug I've ever had from him - so comfortable and sweet, I could've stayed like that forever.
I can hear my daughter struggling to get up on the bed, but she heaves her little body up and she is wrapped around my head. Her belly on the top of my head, coiled protectively. She starts up the softest little "pat-and-smoothe" routine on my hair and starts to croon over and over, "It's okay. You're okay. It's going to be okay. It's okay. Shhhhhh. You're okay, mommy. It's okay..."
My husband sits against my legs and puts a protective arm over them, rubbing my leg.
I just couldn't help it then, I grabbed on tight to whomever I could and cried some more and some more. I just let them love me. I let my kids see me cry and be scared. For the first time, I let all four of them take care of me. It was an incredible thing that I'll carry with me forever.
When I could talk, I said, "Well, I'm crying because I think I'm scared. Have you guys ever had somebody ask you to do something you've never done before, and you get scared to have to do it so much that you feel like crying?" My son sat up so he could look in my eyes and said with the most serious sincerity, "Yes." and nods and nods and then he hugs me tighter, sits up again and makes sure I see him in the eye and kisses my cheek. He pulls back and looks me in the eye again and smiles and then hugs me again.
My daughter says, "Yes mommy. I know about crying and when you feel like crying, you just tell us and we'll take care of you. Okay mommy? You're going to be fine mommy. It's okay."
My husband just keeps squeezing my leg and when I look at him, he looks like he is tucking this moment away forever, too and says, "We all love you." I just nod and let more silent tears fall down my cheeks.
I'm not going to pretend to know what that dream was about...maybe it was a dream of my innermost desires, and not of something to come...but I do know one thing: my anger came from the unknown. I was angry at being pushed into something I didn't know. As soon as my anger broke and this brand new idea came into my head of "what if", I started crying from fear. And once my fear was covered by the pure, sweet STRONG love of my little family, I felt zipped up in love. And once I was zipped up in love, I sat down to send in my cover letter, my resume and my references...
Then I ran down to the library and literally checked out everything on how to teach Kindergarten that I could find.
That's the truth about dreams. They never get to the point the way you think they will or should, but there is always a point. Be on the lookout for it.