I didn't have any dreams for Kaylee before she was born. Not detailed ones anyway. I didn't have dreams for any of my children. I always thought it was their job to dream, and my job to help their dreams come true. From the time Erin, my oldest, was little she has been obsessed with all things science and medical. She has a great aptitude for math and science and an insatiable curiosity. For years we have cultivated this love with books, experiences, play opportunities, science kits. Do you know what she wants to be when she grows up now? A hairdresser. So now we are getting books about braiding, hairbrushes and combs, hair ties etc. Will she stay with this dream? I don't know. I don't think so - largely based on the fact that she is actually pretty bad at it and only has the patience to sit and fiddle with hair for about 30 seconds at the most before she gets bored with it. But it is not my job to dream dreams for her. It is my job to help her make her dreams come true. To help her gather skills and knowledge, to give her opportunities, to cheer her on and give her a soft place to fall, to help her put herself back together again enough to dream new dreams and try again.
I was watching Kaylee sleep tonight. What does she dream? What does she want? Right now, I think she wants to jump on the trampoline. I think she wants to stand up. I think she wants to walk and run and ride a bike.
These are big dreams. They will be years in the making.
Every day I help her work her muscles. I encourage her, I catch her when she falls, I pick the brains of experts and take her to specialists and therapists. It will take time, it will take effort, but she will get there - I don't doubt that for a second.
What then? I don't know. I just keep listening and watching, waiting for her to tell me her dreams.
My dreams, when I am sleeping, involve chasing specialists and doctors. In my sleep, the other night I argued with specialists and demanded they tell me in detail, using diagrams if necessary, why the surgery they were recommending was needed and how it would help her. My dreams are of paperwork (yes, really), my dreams are of pain, my dreams are of meetings and appointments and the gut wrenching fear that I will miss something. That because of some omission on my part, some argument I haven't had, some order I didn't question - her dreams won't come true. My dreams are of hospitals and Big Bad Things. My dreams are still nightmares. My dreams are far too small for my remarkable little girl.
I look at her face, I see her determination, I see her.
And I know that it is wise that she is the one to do the dreaming.
Because she will dream bigger than I could even imagine.