Early Monday morning, I had what was seemingly an innocent dream.
I was temping at the Breyer Horse Company. My job was small, really. I was there to process student loans. Why they needed student loans processed at a company that designs and makes plastic horses for children, only my dream self will ever know. I was asked to sit in on a design meeting in which a co-worker was asking everyone what they thought of a large drawing of a mellow, hunched over horse, wearing a hat with flowers. Everyone LOVED it. They all raved about the “new” design until I blurted out with, “I have that horse! I bought it for $26 when I was a kid. Now my daughter plays with it at my mom’s house!” Every head shot in my direction. Most people looked at me, the temp, with newfound appreciation.
The girl who had submitted the design looked at me suspiciously. She said she had submitted the drawing in person to see if anyone was sharp enough to know it was a horse that already existed and was released in 1989. I knew. I was just a temp.
Then it was time for me to leave for the day and I went to pick up Scarlet who was now enrolled at a daycare attached for Breyer employees. She was wearing pigtails, which was strange, and handed me her lunch box. She always hands me her lunch box in real life when I pick her up from daycare. I looked into her lunch box to see what she had left, and she had left everything. She hadn’t eaten her lunch! In real life, I have heard that if a kid can’t eat or sleep or pee or crap in school, (she can do all in real life) it means something’s wrong and they’re not comfortable there yet. My dream self remembered that I had heard this in real life.
Suddenly I started sobbing, painful sobs. I couldn’t believe that I had pulled her out of her comfort zone, the school she was used to, and thrown her into this “imposter” plastic horse school. She was heartbroken. I was heartbroken. I walked back to my car going through horse stalls (odd) and libraries filled with employees looking at horse books (also a bit odd), all the while trying to get outside, to let my lungs fill with air. I kept running into my supervisors and co-workers, all trying to hug me and congratulate me and tell me how happy they were to have me working for them…
Processing student loans, of course. Big Man On Campus there. They could all see my brilliance. They could see I was meant for more…
I ignored them all and ran outside where I heaved sobs into the air. I couldn’t stop crying. My heart was broken into a million pieces. I had betrayed my daughter! She hadn’t eaten her lunch, which by the way, was a giant cube of raw tofu and some weird sandwiches. (Can’t blame her there).
Still I had taken her from somewhere she loved dearly. Was processing student loans worth it??
I woke up in real life and it was pre-dawn, but man, those spring birds are LOUD. And boy do I love them. I was sobbing into a pillow. I couldn’t catch my breath. I was so out of it I didn’t know how I’d explain the random 6:30 am sobbing fits. “I packed her a lunch she didn’t eat! Plastic horses factory! It smelled! Temps had to muck the stalls! Student loans!!“
It only made sense after I had sobered up with a good nose blowing and a glass of water and realized, “I am not about to wake up my husband and daughter over a plastic horse dream. I already woke up my poor, defenseless unborn son over it.“
It wasn’t the plastic horses.
It wasn’t the student loans processing.
In all honesty, this dream DID touch upon some pretty deep emotional responses I have to my underachiever ways. The way in real life I would have taken that job. I would have processed student loans even though I was good enough to wipe the floors with the plastic horse designers they had on staff. I mean, really. I’m not a student loan processor.
I’m a writer. I’m a photographer. I’m a mother.
I had broken my kid’s heart. I’m pretty sure the sight of uncooked tofu will send me into fits of tears for the rest of the week. Please keep me away from uncooked tofu.
In real life..and let’s stay there now..I mentioned in passing that we had sent Scarlet to daycare twice a week after I had mentioned, not in passing, that she desperately seemed to need it. We were right. She LOVES it. She loves her teachers, she loves rules and routines, she loves nap once a day, scheduled lunch in a group of toddlers, snacks twice a day, outdoor play, dollhouses and more. Everything I couldn’t provide her anymore, or ever, really. If I could afford to send her four days a week, I definitely would. However, it happens to be Preschool Season. I don’t live in Manhattan, but due to space issues and the fact that Northampton, MA is pretty much the most fertile place on earth and I think you can get pregnant here from the ice cream (Herrell’s…mmm..) we had to apply to preschools. Daycares run all year. The preschools we applied to run on a school calendar. It’s not as expensive as daycare, mostly. It will be kids her age and up. No infant room she loves so much.
She already got into two of the three schools we applied to. The schedule is different. The teachers are different. Definitely worth the love and adjustment I’m sure she’ll easily and comfortably, but I’m still a little heartbroken that she’ll have to change schools. I realize she’ll have to do it several times in life and this is small potatoes compared to what is coming…
Really, really small potatoes. I imagine she’ll learn to eat, sleep, pee and crap in her new school within days. No, within minutes. Will her heart break for her old school like I had thought it did in my nightmare? Is it ok to start them in one school and switch them to another? The baby will come in between all of this? Is she going to be ok?
Are we doing the right thing?
Readers, please weigh in if you have ever had to switch your young kids from daycare into preschool at another place. I’m sure most of the world has done this. My heart is clearly breaking over it, though!
Plastic horses and student loans processing job dreams told me so.