11th September, 2018
To My New Foster Parents,
Thank you for asking me what I wanted and for saying that you wanted to help me make my dreams come true. Dreaming about dreams and talking about dreams are two of my favourite things to do. If I can read a book about magical things that can happen to a kid, I am in heaven.
I know that in real life, there are no wizards and fairy godmothers. But there are dreams. I want to tell you something that I should have told someone, my teacher, years ago. It’s about trying to understand dreams. I wanted to talk to her about what it meant to dream big.
I have to explain why this was so hard for me to understand then. When you are twelve years old, you are old enough to know what dreams are. I know, because I am twelve. Before now, when I was confused by dreams, it was because I thought dreams, you know, the kind you have when you are asleep, were real. If I dreamed something, I thought it was something that I really did. But that was a long time ago when I was four or five.
Please don’t stop reading yet. I want to explain all the thought I have put into dreams. I’m not talking about those kinds of dreams, that happen when I’m asleep. It took me a while to understand what people were talking about when they said that it was important to have dreams. I thought they meant night dreams and I had a lot of them. Even though they were bad dreams sometimes, I felt okay because it was important to have them.
One night I had a very bad dream and I could not wake up from it. That was very scary. The reason I could not wake up from the dream is that it was real life that got into my dream and when I woke up, the horrid things in my dream somewhere in the middle of the night it turned into my life.
The place was in darkness and my parents were screaming. It sounded like one of those horror movies I used to watch. There were no lights and it had something to do with money and Dad was screaming at Mom about how it was all her fault. By the time, I realised I was awake, the screaming was still going on.
Sitting there in the dark and knowing dreams can be so nasty, not knowing what was going to happen – that was when I wondered why it was good to have dreams. I wanted to ask my teacher about why it was good to have dreams but I never would have asked her, it would have made me sound silly. Until I got to school that day, I really thought I might have the courage.
Maybe it was for the better. Because I didn’t ask her, I had to work it out on my own. This is why I am so happy to be able to tell you all about my dreams and why being able to dream is so important to me.
Dream Big. That’s my motto. I wanted to tell you that right up front. What they are talking about when they say dream big, is about being able to have pictures in your mind of what you want in your life. It can be something that’s in your mind for right now and it can be something that is in your mind for when you reach where you want to go.
My Dream Big plan is to build my dream like a jigsaw puzzle, with each step like a puzzle piece. I can see what I want in my future as clear as a picture on the wall. I can see the living room I want. I can see my favourite clothes. I can see my jewellery. See what I mean? I have the big picture of the dream and I can see all the little bits that make the big picture.
I remember when I started to dream. When there are things to think about at night, it’s almost as good as having your own television show to watch. The first time I understood what it meant to really dream was when I was put into a foster home when I was 9. There was food and water. The house had lots of lights and there was even a little lamp in my bedroom that they told me I could leave on all night long if I wanted to.
The mother said I could call her Jane. She helped me put some of my clothes into a drawer in the dresser in my bedroom. She had a brand new pair of pyjamas for me to wear. They were cotton with big pink and yellow flowers and lace around the cuffs and they fit me perfectly. They were my lucky pyjamas.
Jane showed me where the towels were, and she said. “Oh, here. These are yours.” She gave me a sponge bag with a toothbrush, a big tube of toothpaste, a hair brush, a pink comb, and my own bar of soap that smelled like vanilla. When I got into bed, I wondered if it had been her way of telling me she thought maybe I wasn’t clean enough for her house.
The bed was clean with lots of sheets and a pretty cover. My pyjamas felt good against my skin. I went to sleep dreaming of living like this every day. When I woke up in the morning, my first thought was how nice it would be to live like this all the time. And that was when I realised what dreams were.
This is something else about dreaming. You start with a feeling. When I realised that sleeping in a warm cosy bed, in my new pyjamas, was a dream I had before. It was both kinds of dreams. I used to have a sleeping dream about living like this but I would wake up and be very disappointed that there were no covers on my bed and I was sleeping in my clothes. Sometimes, on the way home from school I would have a waking dream where a magic transformation has taken place in my house and it was clean and warm and my bed was made with really good sheets. And here I was, with that as my reality. I figured this was the beginning of my dream turning into something that was real.
I was in that foster home with Jane for 3 months and then I went back to my own mother and father. The house was clean and there were sheets on my bed, but the room still smelled bad. For a long time, it was pretty good with Mom and Dad. They were full of smiles. That was when I realised that I have been dreaming about this too. A peaceful home with Mom and Dad not fighting and the house was clean, even happy.
Then it was all right because they were good for a long time. Almost two years. I don’t want to talk too much about this part because I don’t want my mind to start thinking about what might have happened. I can tell you this. I came home from school. It was a Thursday.
The house was empty. It was worse than empty. In the living room, the television was broken. The screen was shattered. It looked like somebody had thrown something at it. On the shelf underneath the television there was nothing. My video games were gone and my Xbox was gone. It wasn’t a very good Xbox but it was better than no Xbox. It was scratched and an old model, but it was mine. My parents gave it to me for Christmas.
I went to my bedroom and did my homework and tried to ignore that scared feeling in my stomach. I didn’t know what would happen next and I know that going through all the possible things that could happen was no help. There was no way to be prepared for when my parents came home. I was having a hard time with my homework and I thought about the time I was in foster care and how they used to help me with my homework. Sometimes just getting the right answer to a question along with a little bit of an explanation made it all seems so clear.
What I did instead was dream. I dreamed about the little things that I want in my life like a new toothbrush. The toothbrush I had was still the one that I got when I went into foster care and that was almost 2 years ago. I held out the toothbrush and I looked at it and thought of it as something that was a symbol of how things can be very good.
I could have turned my mind to how things can be very good and then turn very bad but if I gave up on my dreams of things being good, then what did I have? I dreamed of a new toothbrush and then I dreamed of the bedroom that went with the new toothbrush, and I dreamed of growing up and living a life where I could have my own things and I would be in charge of them.
I do ramble, don’t I? The short answer to your question is you can help make my dreams come true by showing me how to feel safe with dreams and how to take the steps to the kind of freedom that lets me keep on dreaming, big and little things, until my future is as bright and shiny as that dream picture I have on the wall of my mind.
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