Bedtime stories

When I was little and had “outgrown” bedtime stories, I hadn’t actually outgrown them.  I started telling myself bedtime stories.  From my youngest memories, I have always called them bedtimes stories.

When I was little, they were about special days and not so special days and gave me a way to substitute events and characters to get the days to come out the way I wanted them to or to give me just the right day to anticipate.

As a teen, wanting just to be left alone like all teens do, my bedtimes stories were about the boy that ran away and lived in the hollowed out tree, all alone.  That one was inspired by a movie, the name of which I can’t recall.  Or, stories based on “The Omega Man” who was the last person left alive on earth, battling the forces of evil that came out at night…originally played by Charleton Heston, but substituting me in the lead role. 

As a young man, they began to include the perfect partner and the happy memories we would make, including raising children and owning a home and having good jobs, or better yet, being wealthy enough not to have to work.  Memories of a chauffeur and a Mercedes or a Jeep, and acres of land to live on and a second house in the best part of town. 

As I grew up, those stories influenced what I looked for in life and who I became without actually requiring me to measure my life against them, which would have been pretty frustrating.  They were my fantasies, my dreams, but not the reality.

But, they did help me figure out what kind of a partner I wanted in my life and how to handle some of the difficult relationships…Poof, you’re gone!

As I got older, I realized that the bedtime story wasn’t what helped me to sleep, but the focusing of my mind on a single train of thought that allowed my restless brain to settle down and move into the sleep state. 

Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night and was having trouble getting back to sleep.  And, I found myself trying to focus on a bedtime story so I could get back to sleep and not yawn in the middle of one of today’s meetings.  I actually envisioned myself flipping through my stories as if they were on a rolodex, looking at one and deciding that it wasn’t what I wanted.  Or trying to fantasize about one and finding I couldn’t keep my mind on it.  My mind kept drifting back to reality.  And, reality is very busy right now, with lots of stuff going on in addition to our regular lives.  There was plenty of stuff for my mind to drift back to. 

Eventually, I found the right fantasy, Rob and Sydney and the dogs and cats and me, all moving to the country; big white house, red barn, Sydney in a small school where academics and 4H were the main focus instead of…whatever crap city kids are into; where she could ride horses and Rob and I could work the land and feed us and make enough money raising chickens and eggs to keep us in gas and necessities. 

Fantasy.  It’s the stuff that life is made of.  The dream that you’d have, if you could have anything in the world.  Stuff to measure real life against to make sure that real life is working the way you want it to.  Who would you take with you on a fantasy?  Would it be the family you have or the family you want?  Would you be on a deserted island, all alone, or fighting off zombies in the big city, trying to rescue orphan human children before they can be turned? 

Or, would it be sitting in your sewing room all day, making quilts and clothes and happiness?  It’s kind of like that game; who would you most like to have dinner with, living or dead?

I hope I never get too old for fantasies, or for bedtime stories.  Who knows, you may even be in one…

Be well and have a great Thursday.  Tomorrow is new car for Lane day.  A man on a mission.  One day to bring 7 months of thinking and shopping and comparing to a final end.  I’m approved for my loan, I’ve narrowed the search to two cars and two dealers.  I’ve test driven one of the cars and tomorrow, I test drive the other.  And, then I have to make the call.  Just me.  Nobody to help me decide.  Nobody to blame if I end up hating the car in 6 months.  That’s a lot of weight and likely has something to do with me seeing the clock at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 this morning.  Thank goodness there was that farm in the country to go to so I could get back to sleep.



Bratling said...

Lane, I think your hollowed out tree story came from a book-- My side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. Kid's classic...

Coloradolady said...

I picked up where you left off....at 4:30 and could not go back to sleep....feeling it now for sure!!!

Good luck with your car search!! It is scary and exciting all rolled into one!

Seraphinalina said...

What a lovely idea of a rolodex of bed time stories.

My husband loves Omega Man too.

Anonymous said...

If I have trouble getting to sleep, and realize that I'm thinking of the bad happenings of the day, I start thinking of what I want to work on quilt-wise. In my dreams, I've made many more quilts than I have actually done. Thanks for sharing.

lw said...

It could also have been "Snow Falling on Cedars."

I like your farm idea. I'll live down the way a little, and trade you cherries and fresh veg for eggs.

Ciindy said...

Lane, I had to laugh at your fantasy. Eight years ago, we moved to a big white house in the country, with a small school, and a flock of chickens. But where ever you go, life follows, and the problems may be different, but they are still there. And teenagers still find all sorts of trouble, even if they do have "drive your tractor to school day." And those (*&* chickens start crowing at 5am every day. Moral of the story...grow where you are planted. And happiness is being surrounded by the people who love you.

Mary said...

Brating beat me to it, I was going to say "my side of the mountain", a great book that didn't sugar coat the difficulties of going off and doing it all alone. As we start our journey to downsizing (2 of 3 launched) we are imagining where we want to be in a few years, great fun coming up with what if's.

qltmom9 said...

My big white house in the country needs a new roof after the new septic. The white is needing repainted too. Chicken coops attract rats and fox. Ummm...maybe I shouldn't comment when I am THIS tired?
I got to go the Goodwill Outlet today and a sweet man helped me find bits of vintage nice quilt fabrics because I was SOOO stinkin' excited to find them. He reminded me of what I think you are like SOOOO MUCH. We ended up talking 'til his Signicant One came over to see what was taking so long. Thanks for telling me about that place...ALWAYS fun!


Marei said...

I, too, believe in fantasy. For me it can be very calming and restorative. I have what I call my "imaginary life" and it's where my mind wanders to when I can't sleep. Life is good here, but life is PERFECT in my imaginary life. Love your blog.

Lori said...

I look forward to hearing which car you decide on ~ hmmmm....Lane? when does Sydney get her learners permit ;-0 *wink

Rebecca Grace said...

I so agree with you. We buy lottery tickets once in a blue moon, when the jackpot gets high, and my husband and I would have this fantasy discussion, "What will we do if we win?" We'd talk about the house, the land, the traveling... But after awhile, I realized The Dream House in our minds was really just a bright, happy kitchen where we would be cooking and laughing and drinking wine side-by-side, and the traveling fantasy was also more about spending time together than about first class airfare or 5-star hotels. We didn't need to win the lottery, after all -- we just needed to schedule in more "date time" instead of letting work and parenting and kiddie catastrophes and stress suck all the life out of us!

And speaking of stress, about your car -- I'm sure you'll pick the right one. They are probably both good cars that would serve you well, with as much research as you have put into them. A car is for awhile, not forever. Have fun with it!

Vesuviusmama said...

Those fantasies are how I make it through long driving trips. I plan retreats where I am the featured teacher. I build the ideal quilt shop from the ground up. I plan vacations and quilts and quilting vacations. I'm right there with you!