“I had a dream that I was Batgirl!” my five year old told my three year old. As the younger one marveled, I opened my mouth to inform my eldest child that she did not need to claim that she dreamed something in order to entertain her sister. I was going to say something like, “You may tell her a nice story if you want to; you don’t have to dream about it first (or say you dreamed it).”
But then my own voice echoed down to me from the past: “And then you jumped on the motorcycles, and zoomed away!” I could see the bemused look on my mother’s face, and hear my brothers’ excited cheers.
I was probably ten years old when I had the dream. I did actually have one, it wasn’t just something I pulled out of thin air. It was an action/adventure dream, starring myself and my brothers, but, like most dreams, there were strange parts and parts that didn’t make sense, and parts that wouldn’t have fit easily into the feature film pitch my brothers heard. I started telling them my real dream when we woke up, but by the time we were dressed and downstairs for breakfast, I’d begun to fill in the slow parts and invent new interesting scenes, purely for their amusement.
“I think your sister may just be telling you a story,” said my mother. I rushed to make sure my brothers knew that the tale really did have sleep-induced inspiration, but they were already off, pretending a scene from my “dream.”
I smiled while I watched my children play together. The story, whether it was dreamed or invented, was entertaining them, and they were having a great time.