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So Real As To Be A Memory

The Most Vivid Dream of My Life

By Sirena Carroll - The Blind Single MomPublished 5 months ago 8 min read
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(Generated by Dall-e III.) In this image, a woman lies in repose, her fiery-red hair fanned out across a white pillow. Soft light caresses her features, highlighting her closed eyes and the gentle curve of her cheek. She is enveloped in a cozy blue-gray blanket with a rich texture that suggests warmth. The surroundings are blurred, focusing attention on the woman captured in slumber.

I fleshed out what I could, but this narrative could be more cohesive. I'm just having fun with the exercise.

____________________

I had this dream in 2022. It's still as vivid today as it was the morning after my mind painted the alternate reality. I don't generally recall my dreams; such vividness was more shock than surprise.

____________________

I woke before Alexa sounded the alarm. This wasn't new. On weekends, two children, and a seventy-pound Labrador often crawled into bed with me.

Gabriel was the first to appear. He rubbed the blanket beside my right leg as he planned his approach. I pretended to sleep, biting the corners of my lips to suppress the smile that wanted to give me away.

The child hopped a little, his height insufficient for stealth, but he tried. His second hand joined the first, assured all monsters and fae were elsewhere. A knee joined the two hands, digging hard into my shin. I suppressed a wince as knee number two landed an inch shy of its mate.

Abandoning stealth, he charged up the bed. Small hands wrestled down my blanket. I was subject to several pointy elbow jabs as he burrowed in beside me. He thrust freezing feet against my bare legs, and I suppressed a dismayed yelp.

"Good morning, Mister Man," I murmured, rolling onto my side to snuggle him.

"Did I wake you, mommy?" he asked. "I tried to be a ninja!"

I didn't tell him he was as stealthy as a bowling ball rolling downhill. I smiled and kissed his soft hair, breathing in his familiar, powdery scent.

"You were the best ninja," I told him.

Rose joined us next. She heralded her arrival with a grumble of, "Minnie, move."

The door creaked open, dog and girl racing toward the bed. Minnie made it first, but Rose was hot on her tail. My tall teenager catapulted into the empty space opposite Gabriel. At the same time, Minnie circled the foot of the bed before collapsing across my legs with a contented huff.

"Hi, Mommy."

Rose only called me Mommy during these special mornings now. Her switch from 'Mommy' to 'Mom' pained me at first; my girl was growing up. She regressed only in the safety of stolen mornings beneath pine-scented sheets.

"Hey, princess," I responded, turning my head to kiss her temple. It was an act she only permitted in private now.

I could almost hear Rose's eyes roll, even as her tone carried a smile for her brother's sake.

"Of course I did!"

"Me too!" Gabriel piped, turning my face toward his. "I writed one, too!"

"Wrote," I corrected.

"Huh?" he asked.

"You wrote one."

"Yeah!" he exclaimed. "That's what I said!"

I listened to both CHILDREN recite their Christmas lists. Rose's list brimmed with typical teenage items. Half of it would see use once before vanishing into the quantum singularity HIDING in her closet. A few objects might resurface in seventy or eighty years; until then, I cringed at money lost to the void.

By contrast, Gabriel's list was a product of his age. His desires were innocent AND simply requested. The latest truck in his Hess collection wasn't bound up in peer shaming if he didn't own it. He merely wanted it because he got one every year.

I listened, noncommittally sorting their requests into 'yeses' and 'maybes.' I made more money than I used to, but I still lived within a financial worry zone.

My attention returned to the present when I heard Gabriel sling an insult. Rose's choice of candy cane flavors, he clearly found offensive.

"Stop." The warning in my tone was clear. Both children fell silent. "It's alright to disagree, but we don't call people names."

They mumbled apologies, Rose's halfhearted. Gabriel apologized more earnestly. He was still convinced Santa would skip his house if he set a single toe out of line.

"Let's say nice things about each other," I enthused.

"Me first!" Gabriel screeched.

He didn’t wait for confirmation. He leapt right in, love bubbling forth in the form of enthusiastic praise.

"I love you, Sissy, 'cause you give me hugs and let me play with you!" He turned to me. "And I love you, Mommy, cause you're mommy, and you make me cookies."

"You like mommy's cookies?" I queried.

"Yeah." He nodded before delivering the death knell to his compliment. "Nanny's are better, but you still make yummy ones!"

Rose and I burst out laughing.

"He's not wrong," she confessed. "Nanny's cookies are magic."

"So much loyalty," I sighed melodramatically. "But I can't fault you for the truth. Alright, little traitors. Let's get ready for the day."

They giggled, folding hands and gazing skyward. I joined in, saying our morning prayer. I let them share their thoughts before kicking them both out of my bed. Minnie trailed the laughing pair out of the bedroom. I followed behind, quieting them so they wouldn't wake my mom, even though I knew they already had.

____________________

Over breakfast, Rose turned to face Gabriel.

"I never said something nice about you," She watched him eat for a moment, then spoke. "You're the best little brother, even if you touch my stuff."

Gabriel grinned. Rose made a disgusted sound. She admonished him for opening his mouth while it was full of half-chewed waffles.

I set the waffle iron aside to cool and scrolled through my phone.

That morning, my blog received thirty-seven kind comments. I smiled. It was rare for me to get cruel comments, but it did happen. Occasionally, people would mock my experiences and writing in their reviews. It's just an unavoidable part of the blogosphere.

When Mom emerged from her room, Gabriel bounded from his chair to hug her.

"It's Christmas Eve, Nanny!" he shrieked.

"Gabriel, volume control, buddy," I called.

"He's just excited," my mom said, hugging him back.

I bit back a laugh. My mom was such a softy. She would let my kids get away with almost anything within reason. A little holiday screeching didn't faze her.

I asked, "How did you sleep?" Her silky Yorkie followed my mother into the kitchen, click-click-clicking away.

The children began vying for her attention before she could answer. Rose confirmed we would bake cookies later. Gabriel babbled about the present he wanted to open when the Christmas tree turned on.

I returned to my phone, checking various writing-related revenue streams. I earned approximately three hundred dollars a month across the board. Some months showed more profit than others and some less, but such was the nature of being a writer.

____________________

Christmas eve became a baking day when Rose was ten, and Gabriel nine months old.

Mom and I read out instructions while manning the stand mixer. Four-year-old Gabriel adeptly poured pre-measured ingredients into a bowl with fixed concentration.

When the dough was in a ball, everyone dived in with cookie cutters. Mom admonished the children for eating the dough, swatting my hand when she caught me doing the same.

"Hands!" Mom cried, making me laugh.

We finished the cookies by noon. Rose vanished into her room to play on her Nintendo Switch with her friends. Gabriel began building a Lego masterpiece in the TV room. Mom shooed me off to work while she oversaw the oven and the unbaked cookie trays.

A few uneventful hours progressed. The children played, mom worked in the kitchen, and I scheduled a blog post. I emailed a few potential sponsors without much hope. Despite my increasing followers, I still didn't meet most sponsor expectations.

"How you doing?"

I glanced up as Mom stopped in the doorway.

"It's going," I sighed. "I'm certainly not making what I dreamed I'd be making at this point."

I closed my laptop with a muffled thud.

"Just keep trying," Mom encouraged. "Don't get discouraged. Every little bit helps."

"You're right, of course," I replied.

I smiled. She'd said as much for years. Mom was not wrong, but I wanted to make more so I could offer monetary help. She'd given so much to me and my children. I offered what I could, but it wasn't much.

The door chime sounded before I could say more. Luna erupted into a barking frenzy. Minnie joined in. Sound filled the house, high-pitched yapping overlaying the booming base of Minnie's bow-wow.

"Luna! Minnie!" I hollered as my mom and I exited the sewing room. "Shut up!"

"It's Nonna!" Gabriel screamed from the opposite end of the house. "Mommy! It's Nonna here!"

I heard Lyra greet my son. She exclaimed (with the proper enthusiasm) over whatever half-constructed wonder he was displaying.

"Rose, Aunt Lyra's here. Please come say hello."

"Okay!" Rose called from her bedroom.

"Okay!" Rose called from her bedroom.

The ensuing chaos was typical for our family.

Gabriel shrieked with joy. I worried Lyra might need an audiologist after this visit. I tread on a discarded Lego the moment I entered the TV room. Mom and Lyra giggled, empathetic to the last.

"It's not funny," I whined. I was smiling as I embraced Lyra. "Legos need to come with warning labels! Invest in combat boots while navigating Lego minefields."

"I know, right?" Lyra responded. Her tone told me she'd suffered more than one lego mishap while parenting young children.

Hugs, laughter, and chatter flew. Our visitors slipped presents under the tree. Everyone watched Gabriel closely, the child prone to sneaking peeks.

Rose emerged from her room, smiling and waving. More family friends arrived shortly afterward.

"Where's Rabby?" Rose queried.

"He's on his way," Mom reassured. "Cal's dropping him off."

Cal was a family friend. He was bringing Frans, Mom's other half from the airport.

Time passed cheerfully. Music played, the kids bickered, and my phone pinged with holiday greetings. The adults talked, laughed, and teased one another.

Frans's arrival elicited a gleeful shout from Rose.

"Rabby!"

She raced to hug him.

Suddenly, everything dissolved. It felt like I stood in the center of a sand art bottle, mid-fill. Clarity faded and colors fragmented, shattering into minuscule motes of light. A gentle rushing filled my ears.

"Faith, daughter." I heard God's voice as clearly as if He stood beside me.

____________________

I awake slowly and remain motionless. I feel baby Gabriel pressed against my side, his soft snores a steady, comforting cadence. I savor the dream, relishing each vivid detail like a fine vintage I may never taste again. Tears stand on my lashes, but my heart is hopeful.

I don't know my future, but I do know the one who can turn any dream real.

LoveStream of Consciousness
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About the Creator

Sirena Carroll - The Blind Single Mom

Killing Misconceptions, One Story At A Time

I'm Sirena, a book-loving blind mom opening up on the unique life of single and co-parenting with a disability.

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran5 months ago

    Awww, this was so touching and such a wonderful story! I wish I can have some of those cookies from your dream!

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