I had another dream about Hudson last night. In this one, we were on an open-air train of some sort. It seemed like a Tweetsie Railroad touristy kind of train, but it was on a very long track alongside a river with a highway up above it. I was sitting on the floor of the train, next to a bench that I could have been sitting on, nursing my sweet girl. Another mom was sitting on the bench trying to help me figure out how to pump on the other side while I nursed (why we would be doing this on a scenic train ride, I have no idea). The sun was shining on us.
Then, in the next “scene,” she was gone. I was still sitting on the floor of the train, but Hudson wasn’t. I stood up and screamed, “STOP THE TRAIN! MY BABY IS GONE!” And the train screeched to a halt. I had no idea what could have happened to her. Did she bounce out? Did someone swipe her? I climbed over the edge of the train car and jumped onto the ground and started running in the opposite direction of the train. About a hundred yards back, a man standing beside some kind of shack down by the river (maybe he was selling something?) yelled to me, “Here she is!” I ran down and found her sitting happily in a galvanized tin bucket full of magazines, waiting for me as if nothing had happened. I think she was wearing the pink bodysuit and denim jumper dress that she wore last Easter. I swept her into my arms and hugged her so tight, relishing how good it felt to hold her. I felt awful because this was the second time in the dream that I had lost her (I don’t remember the details of the first part—only that I couldn’t find her then, either). I worried what people would think about a mother who could lose her child twice in a row. I wondered why I couldn’t seem to keep her with me. And I hugged her tighter.
And then I woke up. My first reaction was relief that I had been dreaming and that I hadn’t really lost her.
And then I had the awful realization, yet again, that it wasn’t really a dream. That I did lose her. Except the real version doesn’t have the happy ending. So I squeezed my eyes tight and just tried to remember her face in the dream and be grateful to have seen her. Instead of the tight hug, that image is all I get.