Monday, March 31, 2008
I had a dream last night. Actually more like a nightmare. Not the scary type of nightmare, but one where I woke up completely freaked out about what I'd just gone through and just so...disturbed.
I'd been at work all day doing Lord knows what. I met my mom at the car in the parking lot after work...it wasn't a building or a car I know in real life. It was like it used to be though, where we both worked at the same place and rode together to and from work. So we drive home to where she lives now (where I lived before I moved out) and went inside. Then something hit me. I started panicking and trying to explain to my mom what was wrong. We'd forgotten Hailey. Not like forgotten her at the sitter's. I mean forgotten her that day period. I'm in the kitchen standing by the stove, holding on for support so I don't fall down, and Hailey walks downstairs and over to me, crying. She's still in her pj's, hair a mess, snot all over her face, diaper exploding from not being changed. My mom kept telling me it was going to be okay, it's fine, no harm done, she's fine. I was screaming at her that it was not fine, that I neglected my child, she hadn't been fed all day or even had anything to drink...hadn't had her diaper changed. I FORGOT her for God sakes. I felt like I shouldn't even pick Hailey up because I was such a horrible mother but yet at the same time I wanted to grab her and hold her and tell her everything was going to be okay. I remember thinking in the dream "How could I let this happen? How could I FORGET my own child? I'm a horrible parent, I'm one of THOSE parents now...I can never go back and change it, it's happened, I can't change what I've done..."
Then I woke up.
I couldn't get back to sleep for a long time after I woke up from that dream. I couldn't shake that horrible feeling in my gut that I had in the dream...of just utter heartbreak and complete regret that I did that to my kid. What the hell was that dream supposed to mean??? Do dreams really mean anything? They say that dreams are like your body's way of sorting through your thoughts and things you've seen/experienced etc. and filing away the good things while getting rid of the bad. But that doesn't explain why places or things I've never seen pop up in my dreams, or why I would have a dream about neglecting Hailey like that...I hate bad dreams.
I woke up from that one feeling like an absolutely horrible parent. Sure I don't neglect her like in the dream. But I do lose my cool with her sometimes when I'm tired or not feeling well. I raise my voice a little, I grab her and set her down in time out. I get in her face and talk sternly to her. Most of the time it works. But I'm always wondering, am I scaring her into minding me? I don't want that. That's what my dad did to me. How do I change that? How do I learn to talk softly and sweetly to her even when I'm really frustrated or ticked? I feel bad about these things already but the dream just made it worse.
Now I sort of know what it would feel like to be one of those parents who really do neglect their children. What their child looks like after neglect, how they act, so hurt and betrayed and heartbroken. What I did in my dream was an accident though, a mistake, and I felt huge regret and just completely freaked out over what I'd done. I can't imagine being one of those parents that neglect their children on purpose, and just don't care. How could they look at their child looking back at them with that pain in their eyes and not care? And be OKAY with it? Not feel any remorse or guilt?? God it only happened to me in a dream and I'm incredibly upset. I still feel that icky feeling in my gut. It just makes me sick to think there are kids out there right now experiencing what my daughter did in my dream...and that unlike my dream, their parents don't care...that child abuse and neglect is even an issue in this world.