Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dreams of me …

Some mornings I wake with a thought as clear and brittle as if it had been etched in my soul by decades of remembering; from reading or reciting it, or passing it, a scratching on a rock on a well-trod path, something from the very habit of life. Then later, before the fog of sleep has cleared I’ll try to put it down, make sense of it by writing it out. But if I don’t move swiftly, if I wait and do anything at all that requires my mushy mind to work, it evaporates, and the thought that had been so clear, the one that had driven me from my bed and into the kitchen, is gone. There is however a residue, and often it is something familiar, not as sharp as the waking dream perhaps, but unmistakable nonetheless; a fear, a worry, an obsession, a hope, and it lingers like the scent of a wet dog on my skin. This morning the day has begun with something like a dream of dying, a thought that has been on my mind lately, loosing a friend not long ago and more. Last night I was holding HH in my lap while brushing his teeth, when all at once he nuzzled his head into my chest and held himself there for a beat or two, then drew a huge smile on his face and said, “Papa, sitting on your tummy is wonderful. When I was a little baby I used to have so much fun playing with you.”

After I had put him to bed I sat where I am sitting right now and wondered how much he could possibly recall about our time together “when he was a baby.” He is only four. And I also wondered how much he would recall when he was older, when I was long gone. One of the curses of being a father at fifty it that you wonder (at least I do) about how long you will be with your child, how much time there will be to build memories, whether you will be remembered at all for the things that really took place or if the talk of you will be some mix of mostly fiction, colored with a dusting of fact from snapshots and home movies. In my experience, remembering your dreams (or much of anything else for that matter) is an exercise in creative writing, from the germ of the actual dream I fill in the blanks of the parts I’ve forgotten by the time I’ve fired up the keyboard and thrown down my first cup of coffee. Something like that; half-fiction, half-fact, a dreamy stew of the imagination, is what I imagine will be his memory of me.

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Blogger G in Berlin said...

That is very evocative. Being a mom at 40 and plus, I also often wonder what memories there will be and how long I will be there for my children. I still have both my parents and the thought of losing them is as terrifying as it is inevitable. I know that I probably will not be there for my children as long as my parents have been here for me, but I hope! And that is definitely a kick in the pants to take better care of myself. My oldest is 4 and she says to me "When Iwas a baby" and it is so funny...

8:37 PM  
Blogger Wenda said...

Hi Richard, I am so charmed by HH and by your writing.

While I'm not a parent, I have a favourite four year old with whom I spend a lot of time and I sometimes wonder what thoughts of me she will take into the future, if any, after I am gone.

I wonder if I will end up in "the dreamy stew of her imagination."

5:24 AM  
Anonymous lovely said...

your writing so..

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HH is one of those people who has a good memory--I have plenty of memories of being with my dad at age 2--like when he put my snowboots on the wrong feet and tried to put me into a snowsuit. I was no help but I remember trying to help. I remember lots and lots of fun times because he adored his kids and paid a lot of attention to all of us. We always came first with him, I remember being 10 and having friends complain about their dads being drunk in bars after work or at the racetrack. I respected my dad even more for not drinking or gambling. I felt terrible for my friends!
Just being a good dad was all he wanted to be, and he was --I lost him at age 15, but he is still very much with me. He and my mom always will be with me.

2:35 AM  
Blogger Berlinbound said...

g ... Thanks for the comment. I find it one of the most interesting aspects of his development, this awareness of being older, or growing up, of no longer being a baby. The other day he asked how much longer he would be a little boy, because he liked it and didn't want to grow up too fast.

wenda ...I'm glad you enjoyed the piece - and that you connect with it through your small friend - thanks for your comment.

lovely ... Thanks for stopping by but I don't understand your comment - it's just a few words short of a thought. If you visit again perhaps you could expand on it.

anon ... your comment is much appreciated - I've read it a number of times this morning. It must have meant the world to your parents - your love an recognition.

5:18 AM  
Blogger Ralph said...

Parts of this post read like poetry, like something from William Carlos Williams. Enjoyed reading it.

6:39 PM  
Blogger dennis said...

Dennis thinks you should sit down with HH and make some little books that tell about a particular day you shared together-- after awhile he will have a little set of books, wherein your views/memories are shared and put down on the pages.

6:51 PM  
Blogger Berlinbound said...

Thank you Ralph.

Dennis ... That is a brilliant idea and I will do it.

3:48 AM  

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