I had a dream last night. I don’t remember a lot of it.
I had gone on some sort of trip with my children, and we were on a college campus. I can’t remember if it was supposed to be my college (I just wrapped up my MFA program) or if it was just a place we were visiting. For some reason Anthony Hopkins was performing Shakespeare in the quad, though he often broke character and improvised with the crowd. The energy was very akin to when he was playing Loki pretending to be Odin in Thor: Ragnarok. There was a playful silliness that you don’t associate with Mr. Hopkins.
Something happened. I can’t remember what anymore, but something happened that broke my son’s heart. I think it had to do with not being able to do something that the other students were doing. My son is newly 23, but he falls on the moderate to severe end of the Autism Spectrum, so that sort of thing happens a lot. He doesn’t have a college experience, and never will. The closest he’ll ever come is the time he spent in VOICE and Project SEARCH (life skills programs that teach developmentally disabled students job skills, how to cook for themselves, how to shop for themselves, and so on). He was so happy there. It’s a shame it couldn’t go on for longer.
Anyway, back to the dream. My son gets upset and takes off, and my daughter and I are chasing after him. We followed him through halls and dorms, and to a place where a river met the sea. And he was just there, crying in front of the river as it blocked his path, unable to reach the sea.
I can’t remember why it was so important, and I can’t remember what all we said or how we comforted him, all I remember is holding him and saying, “I’ll find you another ocean” as he cried in my arms. I woke up just after, my heart heavy, and have been unable to completely shake the sadness from my dream as I’ve gone about my day.
What had stuck with me, though, is the surety that I will never stop finding places where my son can be himself. I will never stop inviting all of my friends to his birthday parties so that he has people there celebrating him. I will keep buying him whatever absurd thing makes him happy and I don’t care if people think he’s “too old” for his Pokémon fixation (though I know people twice his age still obsessed with the IP, so the world can calm down). I will carve out a place in this world where he is loved and cherished and do my best to find a way he can do anything his heart longs for.
I will find him another ocean.