The last thing I remember before falling asleep was my daughter, Catherine, walking down the hall toward my bedroom. She stood in the doorway, announced that she was going to work, and said goodbye.
Off she went, garbed in nursing scrubs. Catherine’s pony ail danced in the air as she turned around and fell out of sight.
The next time I saw her she was 8 months old and had just awakened from a nap. She stood upright on the Mickey Mouse sheets. She held on tightly to the crib railing. Catherine was wearing a long cotton gown adorned with three small snaps up the front. It was pink.
My daughter was making that little one-syllable sound she always makes when she awoke from a nap. The sound, guttural in nature, isn’t a word yet, but I know exactly what she means. Catherine is awake now. She wants to continue her day. She wants me to quietly creep down the hall until I make my way to the doorway, where, if all goes according to plan, I will pop my head into her room and say “peek-a-boo.”
And I did.
We both laughed out loud. My daughter fell backwards and rolled back and forth, her hands stretched toward me. After I swept Catherine up in my arms, her little fingers wrapped themselves around my head as she buried her face in the round of my neck. Her light brown corn silk hair, askew and slightly sweaty from being asleep, fell gently on my chin and the side of my cheek.
It was wonderful.
But when I awoke and realized it was a dream, I cried.
I miss those days. Really, I do.
The dream wrapped itself around me as if it was happening right before my eyes.