After a rough day, I finally headed off to bed. The dreams eagerly entered my mind, taking me away from reality. They were fun. At first. Then they gradually turned into a haunting scene ripped from the headlines.
I head out on an overnight trip with Ben. We leave Andrew and Emily in the van and take the car. We don’t think anything of it until we come back.
When we arrive, Emily is gone and Andrew is sleeping. Ben is slightly worried that we don’t see Emily, but I tell him to not worry about it. Besides, I am too happy from our trip to worry. I take Andrew out. He’s a little cold, but okay. I finally begin looking for Emily.
A sweet lady from our congregation comes out onto her porch and tells us that she has Emily. “Don’t worry! I saw her and brought her inside. She is such a doll!”
I finally wake myself up. I lie in bed with my heart pounding. I go check on Emily. She’s sleeping in one of her many wild positions. I smile through the hurt. I grab Andrew from his crib and snuggle his little body. Breathing in his sweetness and innocence. I am angry with myself. How could I do that to my children in my dream? It is horrible! Abandonment. Carelessness. Selfishness. Abuse. Things I only read about. And I played them out in my dreams.
After realizing that sleep has fled, I go and get a drink. I try to calm my rapidly beating heart. I just can’t get those horrible images and feelings out of my mind.
I think about what this dream could mean. I rarely analyze my dreams, but my mind would not rest until I looked at it from every angle. After a few minutes, the meaning becomes clear: I am too connected to the internet. While I don’t literally abandon my children, my thoughts are far from them. I often put the computer with the e-mails, new posts, and tweets before my kids’ needs.
I think about how I can slow down and really engage with my children. The brainstorming helps to soothe my anxiety. It is still late, but I know sleep is far from my grasp. So, I wake up Ben. With a shaky voice, I tell him fragments of my dream. He wraps me in his arms and I finally drift off into a peaceful sleep.
The next morning was Friday. I decided to reset my priorities. I wrote a quick post and turned off the computer. That was the start of my blog break. Or, as Kristen and Becca put it, my digital diet. The break gave me the chance to get on the floor and play with my babies. I tickled, they giggled; I read, they listened; I sang, they danced. They were moments that are forever etched into my mind. Rather than losing myself in the computer while they napped, I cleaned. Our house was tidy, we were all happy.
At night time, I reviewed different ways to effectively balance.
Writing is something that I can’t avoid. It provides relief and comfort from the daily stresses of parenting; thus, I need it to relax me when the kids are sleeping.
At the same time, reading each of your blogs infuses my soul with pieces of infinite wisdom. Your inspiring posts encourage me to become a better person; therefore, I need these interactions as well.
I could get up before the kids are awake in the morning. Of course, that would mean waking up early. Something I try to avoid. Hey, my little guy doesn’t sleep through the night yet!
I could try using nap times to clean. That way, when the evening comes, I can enjoy blogging and writing without too much angst. I don’t have to worry about paying attention to my husband because he’s not here. Ha! Takes care of that guilt.
I have yet to receive a striking revelation. One thing is certain: I cannot let that dream become a reality. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry. And vomit. It was too powerful to ignore.
Do you have any tips/advice on how to achieve a good balance in your life? Please share. I need it.