If you like deer, dreams, or simply a sweet story, this post is for you.
Since childhood, deer have charmed my spirit and imagination. Likewise, dreams speak to me, particularly if I’m experiencing any modicum of darkness. If in this zone, I write my dreams down, allow them to gestate, and then analyze, hoping to find an unconscious key to unlock that will aid in my ascension back to clarity, and the light.
Once upon a time, I birthed the most soulful dream.
Before I make mention of the dream itself, I should backpedal to childhood to offer context. In this realm of my life, I operated as a quintessential tomboy. Hated dresses…check. Dissed pink…check. Played mommy with dolls…um, no. I found more imaginative uses for dolls and I’ll leave it at that.
On a typical day, I garbed myself in old t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers. As for personal upkeep, I rarely washed my hair. In fact, tangles rivaled beehives in intricacy, all tucked in a ponytail beneath my trusty New York Yankees baseball cap. My daily agenda ranged from scaling dirt hills, to swinging via rope over gullies, to imagining one hundred ways to escape into one hundred different places and be more than who I was. One body. One girl. One being.
Motherhood? Never dreamed it up as a child.
Need proof? Take a blurred look at me.
Years passed, and adulthood happened. Still, the longing to birth a child eluded me even as it greeted my sisters and blessed them with children. I told myself that being an aunt was enough. But a mother, the calling didn’t come. Definitely not during my twenties, and not in my early thirties either. Indeed, even as I pushed the tail end of this decade and got married, the voice remained imperceptible, perhaps a faint whisper. However, my husband’s voice spoke volumes. He wanted a child.
Uncertainty coiled my mind with pressing questions. Would I be a good mother? Was this truly what I wanted? Could it even happen?
During a visit with my doctor, I spoke my concerns and she encouraged me to leap without any more thoughts. Not even one. “The time is now,” she said. As I looked at her, unsure, a potent memory took hold.
I was standing outside a first grade classroom in Los Angeles, watching with wistfulness a few students I had taught in kindergarten. A wise friend came up behind me. “You want to be a mother,” he said. “You just don’t know it yet.”
As I drifted to sleep that night I thought about my doctor’s words, my friend’s wisdom, and my former students. A short while later a dream flew to me like a stork, lifted me, dropped me deeper into my soul, intent to deliver clarity.
I stood in a parking lot at nightfall near my husband’s black 4×4 truck. Inside the truck bed, I tucked a deer in with a cozy cream blanket. All the while, I cried because I couldn’t find a way to fit the deer into my home. Still, I stayed with the deer, sang to it, kept the blanket snug around its body beneath a pregnant moon.
I awoke with tears. Then, I wrote the dream down and stayed with it for days. I didn’t overlook the fact that the deer appeared in my husband’s truck bed. Of course, he remained the most vocal about having a child so finding the deer in his territory made perfect sense. Yet, my role in the dream overshadowed this tidbit. Showed up for me in the most profound way. I nurtured and protected that deer all the while with a deep longing to bring it into my home.
While swaddled with confusion before the dream, I experienced serenity in the days following. I translated that calm into a powerful soul-spun desire to become a mother. When I told my own mom about everything, she bought me a t-shirt with a tiny fawn imprinted on it to soothe me and offer luck. I wore it often, and it comforted me as much as I imagined the cozy cream blanket did for the deer in my dream. Indeed, I was pregnant in a matter of months.
As Summer blossomed in my womb with time, deer sightings appeared more prevalent than usual. Or perhaps I was more aware. Regardless, I used it as a source of positivity, and it took me all the way to the delivery room, to the wee hours of a winter morning when paradoxically Summer entered our world. Summer, our beautiful baby girl, a soul destined to season our life in the most unexpected blessed ways.
As she grew that first year, my husband and I often honored the deer dream. We recognized it as the gift that offered me a final push into parenthood. Endearingly, before Summer’s first Halloween my husband spent weeks attached to a sewing machine, hand-crafting our daughter the most fitting costume.
Needless to say, Summer sparkled as the dearest deer ever! I know this because our neighbors swooned over her sweetness and, of course, the costume’s creator. Dad and daughter provided undeniable love and light to our elder neighbors on that special Halloween.
Our lives galloped forward through the passage of time, unanticipated diagnoses, Love’s priceless portal. We only grew stronger. Then one spring a dreamy full-circle moment pranced towards our family. A doe entrusted us to baby-sit her adorable fawn.
Every Saturday, the doe left her child in a wooded patch on the side of our house and only returned at nightfall. Respectful, I never touched the fawn or crossed a boundary. But I did sing and nurture it through the lens of a mother’s heart, and as such, realized that buds from my dream of years ago had now bloomed. I photographed the fawn (below) as a keepsake.
Nearing the end of my time as a substitute deer-mother, the doe and fawn wandered to the edge of our driveway. I walked outside into dusk’s misty landscape. The doe stared at me for an extended heartbeat. I’d like to believe in that mother-to-mother gaze that we’d met somewhere before, perhaps in the lullaby of my once-upon-a-time soul dream.
I imagined her whispering these simple yet powerful words…
You’re a mom.
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A dream birthed from soul is sacred & deep.
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Your moments here matter to me. Warm wishes and gratitude…always.