Only just a dream

I was all set to write about the Taylor Swift concert Saturday night, and the super-big, amazingly fun surprise of having Nelly — one of my all-time favorite people — make a surprise visit on stage. But then something happened that was wonderful and terrible, all at the same time and in equal measures, and the concert and Nelly were summarily usurped, no longer important. That something? I met my mom in a dream. It was wonderful because it was so real; it was terrible because it was only just a dream.

I’ve got a heavy issue on my mind, and I’m not sure what to do about it. I’ve done some research, but need to do some more. I’ve solicited advice and opinions, and I’ve tried to listen to my heart. I know what I need to do, but I don’t want to do it, and so I’m ignoring that little voice inside me that usually guides me — and with startlingly accurate results — because I want the answer to be something other than what it is.

Just before I went to sleep, the issue was in the forefront of my brain, and I was thinking how nice it would be to talk to my mom about this issue. How sweet it would be to lay my troubles before her, and let her do that things that great moms instinctively do when their kids aren’t sure which way to turn. She was really on my mind, and I guess that as I fell asleep, my brain took that next step and fixed up a little reunion between my sweet mama and me via a dream.

It seemed so real.

She looked like she used to pre-cancer. She sounded like her old self, not the weakened, wizened cancer voice she spoke with toward the end. She had her great big smile plastered on her face, and her infectious laugh rang out and rolled over me in the most perfect waves (those of you who knew her know that laugh, and I hope to high heaven you’re hearing it in your mind’s eye right this second). She called me NanAnn, which no one else ever called me, and it was the sweetest sound my ears have heard in a long while. She enveloped me in one of her “squeeze the stuffing outta ya” hugs, and I lapped it up like a kitten with a saucer of warm milk. Even the hug. Especially the hug.

She was back. My sweet mama was back. And it was like she’d never left.

The location of our reunion is fuzzy, but it’s not important. We didn’t have a lot of time together, which I suppose is quite symbolic when you think about it. No one else was around, but it was tremendously noisy. I have a hard time focusing when there’s a lot of noise, which of course my sweet mama knows. She told me that noise was the cumulation of all the swirling thoughts in my head, and that if I could set this big issue aside, the noise would quiet and the answer would come. I told her I didn’t want to do that; I want her to tell me what to do. She gave me that look, that familiar look, that communicated a ton without her ever having to say a word. I remember that look, and I knew then & there that she was not going to do the hard work for me. “Why can’t something for once be easy?” I moaned to her. “Do you want it to be easy, or do you want it to be right?” she replied.

How annoying.

I want both. Duh.

But it doesn’t work that way, and out of all the people with hard-luck stories out there, I for one should know this.

How ironic that when Nelly took the stage and surprised the audience toward the end of the concert, it was to sing a song called “Just a Dream.”

“I was thinking about her, thinking bout me

Thinkin bout us, what we gonna be?

Open my eyes, it was only just a dream…

So I travel back, down that road

Will she come back? No one knows.

I realize it was only just a dream.”