Friday, December 9, 2011

Dream Weaver

A while ago Margaret and I were looking through one of the "junk drawers" in the kitchen. We found a yellow folder with page after page of Jack's handwriting from when he was 9 or 10 years old. The pages were a Dream Chart he kept for 70 days. The first page had a rating key with two components -- a color and a number-- with which he rated his dreams each morning.

Blue= Happy
Purple=Weird or Other

After the color, came an overall score:

3=OK (not bad, medium)
5=Great :)

The next 7 Pages, labeled "Jack 1" through "Jack 7" each listed 10 dreams and their ratings.

Examples include:

Scaffolding: "Red, 1" or Scary, Terrible

Mysterious Forest: "Blue, 4" or Happy, Good

Christmas: "Blue, 4" or Happy, Good

Reality: "Purple, 3" or Weird or Other, OK

Sponge Bob #1: "Green, 2" or Funny, Bad

Exhibit of Fun: "Blue, 5" or Happy, Great

Public School: "Red, 4" or Scary, Good

Kidnapped by Playdoh: "Purple, 5" or Weird or Other, Great

Some of his worst dreams centered around the demise of Margaret's (now departed) hermit crab, Smiley, which doesn't surprise me, given how worried Jack was about that crab back in the day.

For five nights his dreams were titled...
"Smiley's Destruction" and were rated: "Red, 1" or Scary, Terrible.

Tim has taken comfort in seeing these dreams listed:
Down the River: "Blue, 3" or Happy, OK
Bounding, Swirling and Slipping: "Green, 5" or Funny, Great
Water and Things: "Green, 4" or Funny, Good

I have laughed about the ones I was included in:

Mom Goes Mad: "Red, 3" or Scary, OK
Bee Mom: "Red, 1" or Scary, Terrible

Most leave me intrigued and wanting more details:
Freedom: "Purple, 1" or Weird or Other, Terrible
Cathead: "Red, 1" or Scary, Terrible

I like Jack's Dream Chart for so many reasons, mainly because it represents what I love about Jack.

First, it shows perseverance, as I can't think of very many things I've kept up with for 70 straight days (diets? journaling? exercise routines?). I don't have that kind of stick-to-it-ive-ness at age 42, let alone at age 10. Jack could focus on something for a long, long time. As I've written before, he had patience with people and with tasks.

The chart is also so darn quirky and creative, traits I will always admire about Jack. It didn't serve to accomplish anything by the world's standards, but I guess it fulfilled a desire of Jack's to track something fascinating and try to understand or make sense of it.

The quiet way Jack maintained this list each day while his dreams were still fresh, reminds me of the way he operated at home: quietly, methodically, always thinking. Whether he was building, doodling, or working his way through a logic puzzle book, Jack was quietly doing SOMETHING.

His humor and creativity, which we're learning was quite evident in school (although not always in the most appropriate manner!) shine through in the names Jack gave his dreams, just as they did in the many elaborate games he made up to play with Margaret and his friends.

I can't really sum up why I love this chart so much, but I do.

I'll just ask, what's not to love about someone who takes the time to record and remember a dream like this:

"Desert Neighborhood Parking Lot Mansion On Our Hill Theme Park Foreign Food Wars" ???

By the way, that one got a Green, 4 (Funny, Good)


L said...

I love reading this and imagining Jack creating the system and then analyzing each dream. Love you!

Carrie Brown said...

I love this too:)

Anonymous said...

Wow. Frame them? Theyd look so great framed and hung in a row. I can't think of many things on your blog that so clearly illustrate what a unique and introspective character Jack was gifted with.

Anonymous said...

I am just in awe of how articulate you can be about your dear, dear boy. You know your children deeply and fully and can express their wonderfullness in such rich, amazing details.

Hugs to you, Anna.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you stumbled across this work. How amazing and fascinating.

Ugh, Anna, every nook and cranny is a junk drawer in our house too. I need to purge in the worst way, but this post is making me realize that I ought to get a giant bin in which to consolidate and hold onto our kiddos' creations. You never know when you're going to need we needed this.

I'm so impressed with Jack for maintaining the tracking system. Like you, I can't do anything for 70 days straight either, by the way (unless being lazy counts?).


mariann said...

I loved reading this. Madison loved reading it too. Thank you for sharing it. Mariann

molly said...

Wow, what an amazing treasure. I am crying.

Jack is on my thoughts daily for some reason. There is a song that I listen to that instantly makes me think of him and of you. I try to sing the words because they really are beautiful. But my voice cracks and the tears come.

It's called "I'm with you" by Nichole Nordeman.

Megan said...

I totally get why you love it. It is in the small things that we can see so much of someone. Pretty stinking awesome kid.

luv2run said...

I bet everything you find that jack created is a treasure! I am glad you are coming across them and cherishing who he was!


Janine said...

Wow. That is impressive to take the time to think about it each morning and put some category to it. What an intentional thinker! We all should be more like that. God would be able to teach us more (or actually, we would likely learn more of what He is trying to teach us!

Rach said...

What a creative, thoughtful soul. I'm intrigued by the rating system he devised, having taught 10 year old boys for quite some time. This was very clever--and entertaining!

Hugs and prayers,

M. said...

I'd consider that Dream Chart a Christmas Present.

Lisa said...

What a great find! Enjoy this treasure. And I love that you & Tim are finding comfort & joy through it.

geri said...

your boy sure was some kind of wonderful, wasn't he? what a neat thing to do, and what a neat kid he was.

Kim said...

Wonder what Jack's dreams are like now?! Do we even dream in heaven? I don't know, but I hope that thoughts of Jack will fill your dreams with the light and laughter that come from reading about his!

prenni5 said...

I love it!! I'm so glad you found this. What a gift! And once again I come away loving Jack just a little bit more. xo
Annie P.

Mel said...

So unique...something not many kids would think of doing...but Jack did!

Treasure it, frame it maybe...I can understand your desire to keep it, it's Jack...unique in so many ways and creative!

OSMA said...

I took a course in college where we had to log, chart, and analyze our dreams for six weeks. The end result was to discover our life's thread revealed by our subconscious. It was amazing what was "discovered" when we started paying attention. Jack's system is better than most of the college students' systems, mine included.

He was paying attention to detail and learning about himself along the way. Now, the dream diary is there for you to see inside that brilliant mind of his even more.

I'm with M., I'd say this is one profound and tender hearted early Christmas gift.

Sweet dreams, Anna. I hope yours are always Blue, 5.

Erin from Falls Church

Alexandra said...

That post brought me comfort.

Swirling, green, blue: comfort.

This is good.

Thank you

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

Often times when I go to a funeral of someone I might not have known well but maybe knew their spouse or parent, I leave wishing I had known them. Your stories of Jack do just that, make me wish we had been friends. Sounds like one hec of a kid! What a wonderful gift he left, makes you happy you aren't one of those crazy, type A cleaning people, doesn't it????

Kori said...

I hope you all continue to find these treasures Jack left behind. They're fairly amazing.

Mama Mary said...

Wow, what a treasure! Jack's Dream charts are impressive and insightful into what an amazing boy he was. Now I will think of him whenever I hear that song. : ) Continued prayers coming your way.

Me said...

I am agreement with your husband with liking the one about the water. For some reason it brings me comfort that water and a river made him happy and not scared. This gives me hope that he was not afraid on that god awful day. Frame those and display as they will bring you comfort and are defintely a present to you from Jack. No doubt.

Meredith Self said...

Down the River, Blue, 3.

That dream journal is phenomenal. The dream titles, the rating system. So insightful, Jack is.

Down the River, Blue, 3.

DawnGes said...

Dear Anna,
What a beautiful post about your beautiful dreamer. Thank you!

Prayers for your day dreams and night to dreams to be filled with love, beautiful memories, comfort and peace.

Love, Dawn

Ellen aka Ellie said...

So he has reached purple it would seem.

How much life this kid packed into his years--it continues to blow me away.

Cindy said...

Love you, love Jack.

Pseudo said...

; -) Pretty awesome.

Elisa @ What the Vita said...

Love this so, so much! Here's hoping you find more of Jack's treasures around the house! xoxo

Meredith Self said...

I chuckle that a funny one might be bad and a scary one night be good.

Aimee said...

WOW, simply remarkable! I'm pretty persistant about running, but that's about it! Ha! With each post, and learning more & more about Jack, and he truely was a VERY SPECIAL BOY! His parents are fully to blame for that one! :)

Anonymous said...

I love jack! I especially love that he realized that life and dreams are not 1 dimensional. What a brilliant boy to know so young that things can be both scary and good. I'm thinking he understands that your finding the list of dreams he left for you might feel like a painful blessing.
Thank you for sharing this.

Suzy said...

He continues to amaze me. So do you!

Kate said...

Really quite extraordinary. What a special person.

Kim @ A Brush of Whimsy said...

What a cutie!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I love that. And it is pretty incredible that a ten year old would keep such an elaborate (and creative) log for so long. A very special boy, that Jack.

Anne said...

We love reading about Jack.Even though we have never met him I feel as though he would have been a great friend to my Daughter.They had allot in common.Thank you for sharing him with us all.And we continue to pray for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I think this is one of my favorite posts. What a treasure for you all to have.

Christy said...

I haven't been able to stop thinking about this since I read it last week. He was so amazing. You ARE so amazing. And the christmas cards. Oh my. I am sending you strength and love and prayers all the time, Anna. xoxo

Anonymous said...

This is how I know I will never forget Jack or ur family. Sat. morning I was standing at my back door and all these lil birds were pecking the ground and flying around looking for seed and in the middle of them there was a RARE BIRD. A diffrent one, And I said to myself, "Rare Bird" JACK! I started praying for ya'll right then n there. I will never be able to look at birds the same, thanks. Because that means I will always be prayn for u n ur family.So glad God keeps giving you these gifts from Jack.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

What an insight into his creativity--and what a joy that you found it.

TheLab said...

THIS IS SO AWESOME! Oh man, God hasn't created the words yet to describe how AWESOME these charts are. WOW, Jack, WOW!!! I wasn't half as cool as Jack, but he really does touch my heart in many ways, Anna, as I was obsessed with Legos (I'm 35 and still have mine, some still half assembled), and would create charts and write everything down, etc. I totally "get" this! And I just adore him even more because of it! What FUN and wonderful parents you two are to have created an environment where he could be so creative.

Heidi said...

I read this a while ago, but wanted to come back to say how much I loved this. What a treat and gift to find it.

Danyiel said...

I found your blog through Momastery. I started reading last night and was up until 2:30 reading post after post and made it to November 2011. You have quite an incredible family and I too am falling in love with little Jack. What a sweet, kind and unique kid. I wish I had known him.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog recently, on Jack's birthday. I've been pulled back to it day after day, working my way through your archives, though I've found it too painful (does that sound disrespectful? I hope not) to read the posts from before his death, when you and he had no idea what was coming. I am someone who struggles with her faith, but have been moved by some of the signs sent to you after Jack's death. This one, with the dreams described that gave Tim comfort, gave me absolute chills, made me stop and wonder, astounded to the point of wondering if it could be true. I don't comment on blog posts often, but you have given this skeptic-by-nature striving to have faith something to chew on. Thank you.