I had a complicated relationship with my mother for many years, although we’re a little closer now. So it was wonderful to have this gift of a dream in the run-up to Christmas.
It was just a cameo, the briefest of scenes, but very vivid. We were in an open field on a bright sunny day, my mother and me, with green grass and meadow flowers all around.
In the middle of the field, there was a big scrubbed wooden kitchen table, a free-standing cooker and another smaller table with a red and white checked tablecloth flapping in the breeze.
My mother was making cakes, stirring the mixture, spooning it into the tins, putting them into the oven and bringing the ones that had finished cooking out.
She was too busy to talk to me, or even look at me, but I felt very happy to be there, helping. I cut the freshly baked cakes into squares and arranged them on my mother’s beautiful cake stands and favourite china plates.
The ‘I’ in the dream was so happy that I, the dreamer, noticed it and realised why. It was because my mother was young again, just like when I was little. I looked more closely, I savoured the moment.
A dream like this is a gift because when you are aware in the dream, you experience it exactly as if it was real life. I didn’t just dream about my mother; I was with her in a bright meadow, making cakes.
It reminded me of Christmases when I was little. My mother was always frantically busy, because she worked full time and had four children to look after, yet every Christmas day the whole family came to our house; uncles and aunties, cousins and grandparents, all squeezed in around every table and chair we could find or borrow.
Those childhood Christmases were my mother’s gifts to me, and I’m sure they were the seeds of my love for all things Christmassy today even though, because of our long estrangement, I planted them so far away.
Happy Christmas everyone. May your Christmas dreams be sweet.