I woke up about an hour after falling asleep. About the third or fourth night in a row with dreams about my family. Last few nights also included dad.. dad in unlikely situations and with an unlikely role. Tonight’s dream went like this – with a strange unsettling message and question at the end.
There were a number of times mom came home from drying out place (in real life just twice; from Stepping Stones in SF). Dad, thin and like a tv dad, rather than the robustly shaped and disinterested man he had been. I was a young teen, with a brother, not a sister a few years younger than I, and there were only the 2 of us.
Mom would come home from rehab, get drunk and get sent back. In my dream the last time the cops (?) held her elbow to lead her from the house, she was told that next time it would be the looney bin and she would be subject to ECT.
So there it was – the day of her first furlough from this most recent time in lock up and I am desperate to get the house cleaned up – brother and dad not really helping, dad looking exhausted and long suffering and not really engaged – brother is dis-interested and distant. It is late – evening to dark, I am rushing around, the house is picked up but not clean. I am going around to the many houseplants and trying to pick off the dead leaves and fronds- the dry brown blades of the pygmy palm aren’t dead enough yet to be removed easily and they turn stringy in their resistance and frustrate me. I look over my shoulder and there are blue and red lights strobe-ing outside of the apartment window, following a car to the curb in front of the building. Up they come, the cement stairs with the iron railings reverberating with each step. The door is opened and police officers come in with mom between them. She is holding a wide mouth beer bottle and smiles. “Do you know this woman?” one asks and I fly toward her, knocking her on the ground and slap her with all my might “Do you know what they are going to do now, mom, DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO DO??? They are going to lock you up and shock you and we might not ever see you again!” I am so angry and disappointed – she couldn’t even make it home without getting drunk. And I had spent all day working in a thousand ways to make her feel welcome and…
(the mother’s voice takes up the tale) and all I saw was a thousand ways they didn’t need me. It would be six months and a car accident plowing me into the delta before I would step into these rooms (remembrance of mom driving into the reservoir on Dewey in SF when I was 15?). It was as if the mom were reciting the story from the podium at a meeting.
I woke up and was asking myself why I was having a mom dream tonight. Yesterday I had spent all day with Shasta and just felt so full of love for her, watching our relationship change, leaving her alone, trusting her to her own way, in my mind and not just in my speech and action. Getting better at it each time I see her. And then thinking about how it is for her to be with me as I change direction in my life . I was also wondering if mom experienced not knowing how to deal with me as I grew up and grew in sobriety- so she shrank to make room for me to seem grown. Even later in life when she was sober she retreated into illness. The more competent I became the less so she. Was mom just making room for the only dynamic that she knew : Big person / Little person – giving up her sense of self so that I could grow? There is this sense of a teeter totter – where the perceived gift is not at all what was to be given – that never would what has been received have been the givers choosing. Is this the only choice my mom saw?
In the light of day I know it is not MY choice: developing a new relationship with my daughter, one of equality and respect, has no model. It is blooming on its own and I miss, with all my heart, having had a similar one with my mom.
Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200 is a yoga instructor specializing in teaching yoga to people in recovery and the creator of the SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) certification program for yoga teachers. If you are a yoga teacher ready to take your calling and service to a new level you can find out more about Kyczy and the SOAR(tm) program at http://www.yogarecovery.com/SOAR_Certification.html