After stuffing myself with turkey, Spanish rice and pasteles on Thanksgiving, I had a very strange dream. I was riding around on a bicycle at full speed, circling around cars and running red lights, and people were running out of the way of the crazed lady on the bike. The neighborhood was where I live now but I had moved to a different building and was searching for it because I could not remember where it was; all the buildings looked the same and when I tried to get in the front door, it was locked. The reason I was in a hurry was because I was looking for Pull-ups for my son and he needed to have them before getting on the school bus otherwise he could not get on the bus. It was pretty wild. My alarm clock went off and when I woke up my heart was racing. I should let you know that Nick has not used Pull-ups since he was four and the school bus experience has been pretty good. It was a pretty weird dream but it sure wasn’t the oddest.
Usually I do not remember my dreams, and I don’t remember if I dream every night. But when they are about Nicholas for some reason as soon as I wake up I can remember all of it.
I vividly remember the first time I had a dream about my son. I was mid-way through my pregnancy and I was just beginning to feel him move and I was already pretty big. One of my friends could not stop patting my tummy, she was obsessed, and loved to feel the waves from my belly. One night I dreamt that Nicholas’ arm was protruding from my belly button and he was holding hands with her while we walked down the street. She was having a conversation with my baby about how she could not wait to meet him.
Another time I dreamt that I ran out of Pediasure vanilla drinks. You see, until last year Nicholas would not eat anything. He only drank Pediasure, four or five a day, and the only thing he would eat were Nabisco Cheese Nips. And I confess, I hoard the drinks and chips, and when they go on sale, I’m the one who wipes out the supermarket counter. These dreams are my nightmares!
But they are not always so gloomy. My favorite dreams are when he speaks. Nick was non-verbal until about a year ago. Before then he had two words – mommy and no – and sometimes he would say something that sounded like a word but I wasn’t sure because he would never repeat it. It has been four years since he was diagnosed with autism and I have had so many dreams where he speaks to me. In my dreams he tells me stories about his day. His voice sounds deep and clear for such a young boy and he is very descriptive and animated when he talks – very much like his mama. He uses his hands a lot and he talks very loud. Occasionally, he’s an infant and by the end of the dream he is the size and age he is now. Those are definitely my favorite dreams.
It was Cinderella who sang, “A dream is a wish your heart makes.”
Yeah, that’s the truth.
Marisol Vendrell is a life-long New York City resident and works as a legal assistant for a midsize Manhattan firm. She is the single mom to a seven-year-old boy named Nicholas who is diagnosed with Autism. She is the co-founder of the Bronx Parents Autism Support Circle, a parent support group for Bronx parents, and is a CUNY SPS student working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Disability Studies.