I dreamed I was really, really pregnant. That baby was due any minute now. I was tired, breathless, my back hurt, and I struggled in and out of chairs. I wondered for a moment if I should cancel my personal training session for that day, seeing as how I might be having a baby any minute. I pondered if maybe we should go to Walmart and at least buy a crib, as we didn’t have any baby supplies at home yet, and this baby was coming any minute.
I woke up, momentarily wondering if the weight I could feel on my belly really was a growing baby……but it was just Geoffrey, sprawled across me while he purred. I was so confused by the clarity of this dream, I didn’t dare to say anything to Cowboy about it. I sent him off to work with the usual goodbyes, and then I googled the dream immediately.
This was the top result, courtesy of bustle.com:
Dreams about finding yourself suddenly pregnant often mean that “an aspect of yourself or some aspect of your personal life is growing and developing,” one that you may not be ready to take public yet. They can also mean a fear of new responsibilities.
Well. I had to take a moment to sigh with relief. Cowboy and I had talked about having children just two days ago, and I had been anxious that my dream was a sign that I wasn’t ready yet (Are you ever ready? People keep telling me not to wait until we’re ready. They say you’re never ready). No, this dream was much more reasonable with this little paragraph of explanation.
It started in Las Vegas. Of course.
My sister, who runs an amazing little empire apparently single-handed, took me to Vegas to see Britney Spears as a birthday treat. She lives in Hong Kong, so we rarely get to speak to each other around the time zones, let alone see each other. Spending time with her is usually rather more chaotic than I like my life to be, but always amusing and fun. Sitting in the opulence of Caesar’s Palace with her, talking about careers and family life, and eating some of the best food I’ve ever had in the US, she gave me a verbal kick up the backside.
“You make me laugh,” she said, shaking her head. “You’ve already talked yourself out of the one thing that you just told me you want to do. Why did you do that?” She went on to tell me what she thought I needed to do, and what she thought I shouldn’t do, and I listened as well as I could without having some means of taking notes. It was overwhelming.
“Read those positive psychology books,” she urged, after I had shared my sense of vague failure about my home and my handle on life. “I know they seem absurd, but there’s good stuff in there.”
We watched Britney’s performance, and I soaked in the group of beautiful, confident dancers who loved every second of their job. I want that, I thought. Why don’t I have that yet?
Coming home, I felt refreshed as if I had been away for weeks. Time in Las Vegas has a very different quality. I had spent only 48 hours there, but it was invigorating and energetic. I stepped into my kitchen and began to tidy up. I picked up laundry, dirty dishes, packaging, dog toys… I resolved to pick up more often, so that the chore was less arduous each time. A tidy house is a marker of success for me, and something I have work hard at as I am inherently messy. Over the last week, I have been chipping away at various problem areas in the house. I rearranged the closet so that I can store sheets and towels in there, as I have no space for a linen closet.
I cleared out the chest of drawers in the second bedroom that was still piled with items from when we moved in, over a year ago. I threw out random bits of crap. Why I still even had half of this stuff, I had no idea. It went out. I started to make a pile of items to take to donate. Why was I keeping hold of hideous curtains that came with the property?
Then I charged Cowboy’s Kindle. It’s linked to my Amazon account, and before my own Kindle had died, I had downloaded and read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. I’d read it while I was in a depression, enduring the long distance relationship with Cowboy, with no real passion for the degree I was studying, and vaguely aware that it would be useless to me anyway. I got some good stuff out of the book the first time, but I felt like a lot of it had been lost. Reading it again, I felt like this time it would stick.
It’s early in the process. I felt a little ahead of the game because I have already achieved one thing out of the first chapter – I exercise well courtesy of my fantastic trainer, and becoming stronger physically has spilled out into my mental and emotional wellbeing. The depression still comes, but for shorter periods of time, and less potently. Exercise is cheaper than therapy and more effective for me. So, that’s a small victory.
However, I became keenly aware of a failing that needed immediate work. Cowboy and I had disconnected over the winter. We both felt it, and neither of us knew what to do about it. It wasn’t any question about loving each other, but it was the small things that were missing. We didn’t hug enough, we would sit in front of the tv together but not watching together, and we hardly ever made an effort to do something together for the sake of spending time together. I often felt like I should use my time more productively – because of course he knew that I loved him, so I didn’t need to keep demonstrating that, right?
Once I acknowledged that I was wrong, I could start to make steps to change it. I saw my loving, kind, patient husband as he was in the moment: tired, drained, neglected, listless. I resolved to become the tide that he could ride for a while, until he found his energy again. I stopped finding excuses not to cook a real supper for him, excuses not to give him a massage after a busy week, excuses not to show him how much he means to me, and I found one reason to do all of these things.
Because his happiness makes me happy.
And that’s the only reason I need. It’s a good start. I already see the difference in him. I have to remind myself to be strong and determined, when it would be easy to flop down in my usual chair instead of stay on my feet and chip away at the household chores. I’m volunteering to drive the pickup and trailer, to go trail riding, to be ready to give him a massage if he needs one. He is surprised, suspicious at times, but grateful. So grateful. And, little by little, the change is happening in both of us.
So, that dream perhaps marks my personal growth, as I recognise that I must grow. It marks my project to improve and build on our home, to make it a peaceful and orderly place that we want to be in. It marks my decision to cultivate and work on my marriage, like I have spent time in my garden pulling weeds and nurturing the plants that I have no experience with. I can learn to garden on the job, and I’m learning to wife the same way.
And perhaps, if I can get my act together and create what I want to create in my life, we will be ready for that baby soon.