I often wonder what dreams mean. Do they have meaning? They are like ripples in the water of all of life’s puzzles we don’t have answers to.

I know everything right now is all about Christmas. But if you’re like me, it is starting to be holiday overload.

I know I’ve seen hundreds of Christmas decorating for months, and I need to think about something else for a little while.

So I’m going to write about a recurring dream.

The Recurring Dream:

I still see her oftentimes. A little girl in a boat. She’s about three years old. Maybe some of you remember my mentioning it before.

I’m probably ten years old in the dream. We’re at some sort of summer camp event. There is a young woman in the boat with us, our chaperone. 

We’re just floating out on the water, pretty far from shore. I don’t recall if anyone is talking. For me there is silence. Everyone is looking out toward the water, gazing at the sights. 

The trees seem to reach up and graze the sky. Birds soaring overhead.

The Little Girl:

My gaze has fallen on the little girl sitting across from me in the boat. Her eyes meet mine.

I see her raise herself up from the flat seat in the boat, and scoot up to the edge. She is unafraid, like children her age often are.

I watch her as she begins to bounce up and down on the edge of the boat. She is smiling and having fun. 

Up and down. Up and down she goes.

I know something bad is going to happen. But I can’t find my voice. I open my mouth to speak and nothing comes out. 

And She Falls Backward:

In mere seconds, she loses her balance and falls backward. Her eyes widen as she realizes something scary is happening to her.

Why couldn’t I find my voice? 

Finally I did, when she was just ripples in the water. I screamed that she fell over the edge. 

The chaperone turned to face me, then went into active mode. She rises and quickly dives into the water. She goes under, searching for the little girl. 

All the children are open-mouthed, suddenly filled with alarm.

The woman comes up, gasping for air. She shakes the water out of her eyes, and droplets from her hair ping back onto the dark surface.  

Finally she stops diving under and hoists herself up by her arms over the edge of the boat and back into it. 

The Little Girl Is Gone:

My heart is pounding. “But you didn’t find her!” I yell. “You have to go back and find her!”

Her face twists up with emotion and she shakes her head. 

“No! You can’t leave her down there. Please! Go back!”

Tears are streaming down her face. “She’s gone,” she says. “I’m sorry. But I can’t find her. It’s so dark down there.”

I can’t believe it. I look out over the water. She fell backward and the lake just gulped her up. Then closed its curtain of darkness over her as though she’d never been. 

Little ripples caused by a little body. Gone in an instant into a dark abyss. 

She was smiling at me just seconds before she fell backward, as if to say: Look at me, look at me! Unaware of the danger behind her. 

It swallowed her up and no one could save her.

Back On Shore:

The young chaperone rows us back to shore, her body shaking with sobs, her face white with shock. The pained look a person gets when they know their life is suddenly altered forever.

Once on land, I see everyone talking; many crying. Adults and children gather together looking out over the water.

I stand alone. I don’t speak to anyone. I just stare out over the water.

A little girl, too young to understand about the danger of drowing took advantage of the fact that no one was keeping an eye on her. She lifted herself up to the edge of the boat. 

I keep seeing her eyes as they meet mine. I see her sweet little girl smile. 

Why was I the only witness?

Why could I not speak? Why could I not let the chaperone know before it was too late? 

And why is it so clear in my mind? Most of my dreams are muddled and vague.

Do you have a dream that won’t let you out of its grip?

What do you think the significance is of dreams? Are they just particles of life mixed into a stew and stirred into the universe?

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  1. I think you could turn this dream into a short story or even something longer. While it seems like a scary dream, I think it could have a more positive meaning. When you wrote of this dream in the past, I commented that I thought that each one of the characters represents some part of you. I guess you should embrace it rather than run away from it, because it certainly seems to have something interesting to tell!

    I sometimes dream of my children (now young adults) and in the dreams they are quite young. I am always delighted with these dreams and hate to see them end. I also sometimes dream of two men from my past. (Thank goodness they are never in the dreams at the same time! The first is a man I was engaged to in my early 20s, who broke off the relationship a month or so before the wedding. The second man is the one I started dating a couple of months after the previous relationship ended. We got married and had two children together (the ones mentioned above), but the marriage eventually ended in divorce.

    In the dreams about the men, they promise to do something for me, or to meet me somewhere. Then they do not come through on the promises. The dreams always end with me waiting and wondering where they are. These dreams seem to represent some fear of abandonment, but I'm not quite sure why I still have these dreams, because years after these relationships ended I eventually met and married a wonderful man whose first and second names should be Loyal and Devoted. We've been together 15 years and married for nine. I think I do carry around a vague feeling of insecurity that is linked in part to those two failed relationships, as well as to complications in my relationship with my parents. I'm just not sure why I have the dreams. I am not sure why I need dreams to remind me of a feeling of insecurity or abandonment, since I am aware of the feelings in my waking hours as well. So maybe there is some other message in those dreams.

  2. I'm not surprised that you would dream about children given your past experiences..but why now is a good question..could this maybe have to do with your children/grandchildren?..Good luck finding answers Brenda..

  3. I am not sure everyone in every dream is you. I have had dreams that came true, were predicting the future. Water is birth, baptism, destruction, new life. the boat could be womb like too.

  4. That's an interesting dream Brenda, and even more so that it's reoccurring. Knowing what you've shared, i.e., your experience with missing children, your childhood, etc., it's not difficult to understand that you would have intense dreams like these. Certain parts of the dream seem to stand out to you, such as your frustration over not saying something when you sensed danger for the little girl. I'm sure you felt helpless and frustrated while investigating the cases of missing children. What's interesting is why these dreams have started this last year. There are lots of people who are experts at interpreting dreams. I know if I had a dream like that more than once, I'd seek someone like that out.

  5. Well it's just not that realistic. People including toddlers just don't drown quite that fast not in calm water where their is no current. I was a lifeguard in another life and did rescue several young children in separate incidents. Not sure if that helps you?

  6. I always dream of tornadoes coming towards me. I've never even seen one before. Oh and I dream of moving back to my childhood home and bringing my family back there, though the house is no longer standing. I think it's because I have such happy memories from when we lived there.

  7. I think this dream is really about you as a child being abandoned by your parents. I think this dream totally relates to that. It is a very sad dream and from reading your blog for a very long time I think you are very sad about your childhood, and that comes out in your dream… There was no one there to rescue the little girl (you) in your dream, just like in real life your mother wasn't there for you.
    I have vivid dreams about loved ones that have died. It's like having a real life visit with them. I treasure these dreams.

  8. Wow, can I give you a few hints from my graduate level dream interpretation class that was many, and I mean many moons ago. Here's what I remember: water is significant because the calmness of it signifies safety and a sense of peace while turbulent water signifies a struggle or problem in the dreamer's life. The little girl is a symbol of youth….kind of a duh you don't say definition, I know. I think it's interesting that the little girl was happy and care-free right before her demise. Just a shot in the dark and I know you didn't ask so tell me to bug off by all means but could it be this is a dream about fearing "rocking the boat" and throwing caution to the wind. Maybe a yearning for the care-free days of youth coupled with a fear of "taking the plunge." The chaperon could symbolize a person in authority who has let you down in some way. The truth is no one can tell you what this dream means except you. But there are universal symbols that help decipher a dream. We often have recurring dreams because our subconscious is trying to get us to fix a problem whose root we have dealt with before. I feel I should apologize now for playing Lucy in a Charlie Brown cartoon!

  9. What a sad dream. I do think they are all about ourselves and trying to tell us something. I've had some very scary recurring dreams and once I think I understand them, they seem to go away.

  10. I had a recurring dream as a small child. My best friend and I would walk through an empty field to the store to purchase candy and that evening, the field caught on fire. I must of had that dream a hundred times. It is true that my friend and I would often walk to the store through the empty field to buy penny candy as many times as we could. The fire I am not sure what it represents. And I have many, many, many dreams of my first love. (thank God, I didnt marry him) But I guess some, like myself never forget their first loves. Sometimes I go for weeks not having any dreams, but lately, I have crazy dreams; they are all over the map. Recently, I did have a sweet dream of adopting another dog. It was so vivid. He was a dapple weiner dog and his name was Henry. Happy Friday.

  11. I know we've talked about this dream many times so I wont type all that out here.
    Dreams are actually easy to interpret once you clearly understand that every thing and every one in the dream is YOU.
    Facets of YOU… If you'll see it that way, you'll understand it completely. if not, call me and we'll talk thru it.

  12. Oh Brenda how sad. Did this dream start when you were a child or after your work with the children you could not save? Maybe this little girl stands for all the little ones that lose their lives way too early.

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