As I rode the city bus to take my daughter to school this morning, she told me she had a really bad dream last night. Here’s what she described:
There was war in our neighborhood. Guns and bombs could be heard, and she knew the fighting was near. Then she, her sister & I were together. A strange man came into the room and I told the girls that he was going to take care of them now because I had to join the fight. She cried for me not to go, but I left. we were living in a communal house and she went into the kitchen, where some ladies were making food and doing domestic things. She kept asking them how they could just act like nothing was wrong when there was a war going on just outside, but they wouldn’t answer her. Then she saw the guy that was supposed to take care of her, and she started to yell for him to get away from her because he really scared her, and then she woke up. She said she was convinced it was real until she woke up and realized she had been dreaming.
Why would my eight year old daughter intuit this situation so clearly? We certainly don’t talk about guerrilla warfare or war in Seattle, or war in general, for that matter. I do not own a cache of guns or rail against black helicopters. But she seemed acutely aware of what it would be like if war did come to White Center.
I asked her what she thought people should do if there was a war going on, and explained that even in war people have to keep living life.
This reminds me of the The Blue and the Gray, a TV miniseries I remember from when I was young. I was pretty into war and strategy and such when I was young. I started playing Dungeon & Dragons when I was six, and I was fascinated by all that was feudal, so a show about the civil war was right up my alley.
There was a scene in the series where there was this horrific battle occurring on a hill at the top of which stood a big, old gray house. The house belonged to on old woman, and as the battle raged on, she just sat in her rocking chair on her porch knitting and singing to herself. All hell was breaking loose around her, and she was just doing what she always did, carrying on with life despite the chaos. That is until a cannon ball landed in her lap.
The other scene I remember was this guy who fancied himself as the Angel of Death who roamed the battlefields after the fighting was over, bayoneting anyone left alive to put them out of their misery. I was 8 when this miniseries came out, the same age my daughter is now.
But I digress. Why is my daughter dreaming about this? Is she seeing into the future? Where else would she get the helplessness and chaos of living in a war zone. She doesn’t watch shows about war, or fighting. She is not into role playing games or the history of martial engagements. She is more into Tokio Hotel (yes, those are all boys) and skinny jeans and Club Penguin.
I don’t know what to make of it. It was a creepy thing to hear her describe. It seemed prescient. I actually felt the wrenching in my heart if I would have to make the decision between staying with the girls or fighting to keep them safe. And I had the worst feeling that I would choose to fight, and would give my life in an attempt to keep them safe, and they would never see me again.
Ah, the joys of fatherhood.