Hi! Ashley, here!
Something about me is that I have an incredibly active life in my sleep. I dream. A lot.
Vivid, emotional, poetic, cinema-quality dreams. I have my entire life, and I rather enjoy it. My dreams give me a lot of creative fuel, and I cannot imagine “sleeping soundly” without this second life.
All of my life, I dreamt of my own children. Often in the dreams, I had twins. Often in the dreams, I was having to protect my children from something; sometimes it was war that I held my babies safely away from. Sometimes, I was comforting them from the scary people that are “out in the world”. Still, always, I was their mother, and I loved them with so much of me that I woke up aching that they cannot have a truly perfect life—as no human can. This world is simply not set up for any of us to live a perfect fairytale existence.
After my infertility diagnosis seven years ago, my dreams of holding my children took a new emotional meaning to me. These dreams captured my hope that I will still know the love between parent and child.
For a couple years, now, I haven’t had any sleep-time dreams of being a parent.
I still dream of children almost every night! But night after night, I go to sleep and dream - about other people’s children. I dream about babysitting my nephews. I dream of protecting other people’s babies. Sometimes they are children of our relatives… sometimes they are stranger’s children…
... but morning after morning, I wake up and realize that my dream didn’t carry any hope that we will be parents… it’s like I am afraid I will always just be “Aunt Ashley”, and that my heart’s desire will be something I never experience… Family…. Passing down celebrations and history… Creating opportunities for more healing in the world…
All of that rambling is to say, today, I awoke from a dream where Marc and I were parents. A toddler was our child. We had taken the baby to the mountains for a week, and we were so excited seeing this precious child explore the world with fresh eyes and excitement! The child was small for their age, but mighty in heart and huge in personality.
My heart felt so much healing from this one dream… so much hope… so much Love.
I don’t know why I am sharing this… except, dreams are often best enjoyed when shared…
I hope your dreams are full of love, hope, and peace, also.
If you are an expectant Mama here in the great NC state, you already know that North Carolina is pretty rad. Then again, do you?
Marc moved here when he was young, but I was born and raised here. I’ve lived in the mountains, small towns, and big city. From the Appalachain Trail and hiking the Great Smokey Mountains (or climbing mountains to go into abandoned fire towers), to the pure magic of the lower Outer Banks (seriously - it’s pristine nature and dolphins jumping in the sparkling waves!), we adore this state.
It wasn’t always like that. As a teenager in NC, I wanted out. I couldn’t wait to move to New York City, and eventually to Paris. I planned to go to college either in Florida (Florida State University) or New York (Ithaca, a castle-like college nestled in the wintery mountains of NY). Family ties are strong, though, and I’m blessed to have parents I wanted to be able to see more than twice a year. I went to college across the state, and it’s a good thing! College is where Marc and I became close again, and we have been together ever since!
I think it was a few years ago, when I was 29 and went camping by myself at the Outer Banks that I realized how amazing this state is. I had always wanted to camp alone, to prove that I am able to take care of myself. Camping in the forest of Cape Hatteras shoreline was magic. Most of the days, I had nothing but waves and wind and birds to entertain me. On the couple occasions I drove to the store, however, I listened to the only radio station I could pick up: a local AM station that shared the history of the islands. I was hooked. Our state is amazing.
Months later, Marc came back to the islands with me for his first visit to OBX (Outer Banks)... and this is where he proposed to me at the base of the Hatteras Lighthouse.
I have a mission now to visit every single town, teensy and huge, in NC. I believe everywhere has a story. Everywhere has a history. Everywhere has someone and something great to experience.
If you are also in NC, I hope you are able to experience more of the neat little quirks that make our state. If you are not local, I hope one day you get to visit and see it was the intrigue and mystery that I see it with. :)
Hugs and love,