I’ve always had vivid dreams. As a child I often sleep-walked and so nightmares would sometimes see me running into my parents room, still in the dream, shouting about how I was being chased (most memorably on one occasion because I’d lost all the letters of the alphabet). And then I got pregnant, and I stopped dreaming. It was strange, but also quite liberating. Sleep was a lot more peaceful and calm away from my dreams (well, until pregnancy insomnia hit, that is).
I had one dream during my pregnancy, and that was very early on – I dreamt that I was holding my baby, my tiny, naked new baby, curled up against my chest, and that it was a girl. It was so real that after that I was convinced I was having a girl, and when I held Lydia for the first time it felt so familiar – so like that dream, I suppose – that I knew she was a girl before I’d even looked to check (there was no “it’s a girl!” shout as she came out).
Anyway, I digress. I gave birth and still there were no dreams. No dreams! That’s weird, right? I would’ve expected to have had loads of dreams, dreams about dropping or forgetting Lydia, or happier dreams about her being older. But no.
Slowly but surely though, over the last month or so, dreams have been creeping back into my nights. Not every night, not that I can remember that is, but when they come they’re so vivid that they’re not always welcome. And this week was the first time I dreamt about Lyddie – two nightmares in a row in one night, one in which we returned to our bedroom to find she wasn’t there, another in which someone had wrapped her up in a duvet and left her perilously on the edge of a chair. Dreams that left me cold and anxious and relieved that when I woke I could grasp her a bit closer to me, safe in the knowledge that she was okay.
I have no idea why my dreams stopped. It’s not as though I wasn’t – or that I’m not now – worrying about things. I thought I missed them, but now that they’re back – too real, too vibrant, too raw – I can’t help but miss those peaceful, dreamless nights.
But then, last night, I dreamt of my grandma, my mother’s mother who died almost four years ago. And in my dream I cried with happiness as I passed her Lydia and said “I thought you’d never be able to meet her.” And she smiled, and held my daughter, and told me she was beautiful, and it was so vivid that I would take all those bad dreams in exchange for that moment, that dream moment with my grandmother, proudly holding her great-granddaughter.