Your dreams will tell you
I woke up this morning in tears. I had just dreamed that my beautiful, capable, brave daughter and I were at a grocery store (but not the kind of store I've ever seen, except in the movie The Night We Never Met). She was carrying something to purchase - but she'd just come out of the restroom - and she noticed that people were looking at her arm - and in the dream, her forearm was missing, replaced by metal "bones" and a fake hand that looked and acted real. She casually put her sleeve back down to cover it - consciously casual - just handling the situation. And in the dream, I realized that she could not feel her upper arm - didn't know the sleeve was still up until she saw people looking at the metal.
I am in tears again, writing about this dream. My daughter came home from Afghanistan whole in body - and bruised in mind and soul, but not missing anything essential or integral to who she is. I do not cry over reality. I weep across the waves of fear that I could not watch while she was gone.
And I know that this dream is not just about my daughter. It's about all of my kids. All grown now. All looking at their 20's (or what's left of them), deciding how they want to live. And why. And with whom. And where. And there is nothing to do but see the dangers and possibilities from where I am now, decades older and wiser, but still only one person with one person's vantage point, and wait. If they loose limbs they're the ones who deal with it now. Not me. Being the mom now means, more than ever, seeing without acting. Praying without ceasing.
I had horrible dreams about the kids being in danger after a car accident I was in when they were little. The kids were not hurt in the accident. But in my dreams, terrible things happened. I dreamed then, as now, about what might be. What could be. What I was most afraid of. My dreams told me then what I was most afraid of.
But now there's a difference. Probably it's a good sign that in my dreams, my oldest child and only daughter is handling it. Now, in my dreams, I know my kids are strong. Brave. And ready.
So why am I still crying?