Hoping to find my new rhythm

One night last week, I had a marathon of bad dreams where I was lost and the fog was almost horror-movie-like.
It was the classic kind of bad dream. I didn’t know where I was. Panic set in and I had to breathe deeply, even in my sleep, to calm myself down; to settle the panic into an accepting state of mind.
I repeated some comforting words in my head as I tried to get my bearings and figure out a solution to get myself home.
The bad dreams could be caused by the fact that I’m moving. Perhaps that’s why the unsettling dreams are coming in with greater and stronger frequency.
I’m leaving behind all that is familiar and comfortable to start again somewhere else. I’ve done it before, many times in my life, but this time feels different.
I’m packing all the treasures that adorn my walls and shelves, wrapping them up in bubble paper and newspaper to keep them safe. Maybe I should do the same for me. I could wind a roll of air-filled plastic around my 5’2” frame.
I’d put extra around my chest, where my heart is housed, to keep it from breaking and pack some tissue around my head or wear a helmet to protect my memories.
If it were only that simple.
I look at the wall hanging that Aimee created for me with symbols for all the things I’ve given her, the parts of my genes and my character that she admires, yet it is she that has inspired me over her lifetime.
Samantha’s kite from an early grade is framed and looking almost like it could take flight if I removed the glass, her artistic skill from genes other than mine. Meanwhile, Laurie’s undersea world hangs in the bathroom and she won a prize for her work in Grade 3—a moment when she was surprised by her talent; never sure about the vast array of skills she has.
Thea’s rainbow hangs over the piano, its big, bold colours always lift my spirits when my eyes land there.
It was the little hands that created these masterpieces that defined me, that gave me shape and colour and texture. I treasure them more than if I had the Mona Lisa hanging over my sofa.
My daughters are my life’s work.
I like the idea of an adventure, though. Of a fresh start, of being the best version of myself, leaving behind those things in my character that disappoint me. But whenever I’ve started over in the past, I brought my children with me, tucked them in with the sofa and the piano and the favourite comfy chair.
They were the landscape that was constant and this time they won’t fit into any of my boxes. People will get to know me without the context of mother, without knowing the pride and heart-stopping love I have for the four individuals whom I call my family.
What will they see? Will they know that Aimee and I love to laugh at anything—even things that aren’t particularly funny? Will they know that when I close my eyes, I can conjure up all the images of Samantha dressed in her myriad of costumes and displaying a wit that only the very special few get to witness?
Will they realize that Laurie has been my right arm, my go-to-girl whenever I’ve needed help, no matter the task?
Will they listen and hear what I hear, Thea playing the piano and creating a sound that comforts any worry, any uncertainty, no matter the size?
Does this mean I am a bit like an empty canvas, that I can now sketch and shade in the parts of me that maybe have been lost over the years, become dormant and invisible?
Maybe I feel a bit like how Pinocchio must have felt when his strings were removed—a bit unsure, a bit wobbly. But Pinocchio did discover how to dance, didn’t he?
So, here’s to my new dance. I hope I find the rhythm.
wendistewart@live.ca

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