Monday, March 11, 2013

I had a bad dream.

I was in my house, alone, one morning, and there was a knock on the door. When I opened it, I saw my wife standing there. She smiled and said, "I'm pregnant."

Which was when I awoke with a gasp, and found myself, thankfully, in bed, in the dark, with my Mrs. Ditchman fast asleep next to me.

It was one of those SO REAL dreams, the kind where you are thanking God for the ability to wake up, (an ability which fails me all day long) and it was the kind of dream where you know exactly the meaning of it, some time later, on reflection, up the ladder, at work.

DULY NOTE: We are not having another baby, not even considering it, and all necessary precautions have been taken to assure your inquisitive mind. (We might have had a fourth, though, had we achieved financial independence five years ago, when I was ten years younger.) No. We're done. And the meaning of the dream is this:

The house I am in is not my house, it's my place. It's everything I wanted to make of myself by my forties. It's my hopes, my tendered dreams, my honed skills, and the arrival of me at my long expected Achievements. It's me. This is why the house is empty. Then, the unexpected visitor. And she is everything else; the other side of my life, the house-transformer, the maker of the home, the home that would eclipse my smaller childhood dreams, in her perfect shadow. And then the startling news that breaks my sleep. A shock to the system. Our family. The hard part. The part that invades my place, eclipsing everything.

I've been struggling to do my creative stuff lately, and I've been feeling guilty for it, and the big reason I can't get anything done is the family, and the work, and how I've sacrificed all those passions to earn a living. And sometimes I sacrifice the family to write a little ditty, or plant a little flower. Passion. Duty. It's a the crux of mid-life. You must choose. And choosing half of each, leaves you half empty in both.

I had chosen the former for ten years, out of college, and so I know exactly where it would take me -rubbing pennies together to sit in a coffee shop. So choosing to do my duty for the next ten, though it was a fearsome leap, wasn't an impossible sacrifice for me. I had a good woman there, making it worth it. And all the other unexpected joys... It was a good call.

But I am pretty tired now, sunburnt and sore, and looking for inspiration, which only ever meets me halfway. And I am just hoping that the wisdom of my age will find me some nexus of well-intended energies, where I couldn't ten years ago, or ever before.

Serena, who is a good deal smarter than me, (and much more fortunate) asks me every time I'm typing at the computer, "When are you going to finish your book?" and I never have the heart to say when you leave the room, or, when all the patio covers have been built, or, after I get some rest when I can think clearly and my hands don't hurt. I remember explaining it to her some time back, when she was in kindergarten: "You know how you like to write down words? And you ask me for the spellings, so you can make your stories?" She nodded. "Well, this is how I write down my stories. It's faster. Instead of writing it out, I hit these buttons. See? All the letters are there." And now, whenever she sees me typing, "When are you gonna be done writing your book?" And sometimes she asks what it's about. Or how many words are in it. Or can I put her socks on for her. Or will I take her to school today. Or pick her up. Or will I give her a bath. Read a story. Talk. Play. Move. Teach. Go.

And I always stop and Do, and I just never want to resent it. And here's to hoping that if I ever get to read her books, I never will.