How many times have you had a dream that was just too real?

Last night, my Gwennie and I had a slumber party in my bedroom. We made drizzled party popcorn, I painted her tiny fingernails the perfect shade of hot pink and her little toes too. I brushed her long, beautiful hair and marveled that I used to have that hair too. We watched Flushed Away and fell asleep holding hands and snuggled into the feather bed. It was an evening of magical perfection.

I dreamt that we were at a Wal-Mart. The whole family was unloading from the car at the front sidewalk/sliding doors and a valet was parking the car for us (bear with me, it was a dream). Gwen was standing at the sliding doors waiting for us when we were distracted by Kate falling out of the car. We momentarily turned to pick Kate up from the sidewalk and my last vision of Gwen was composed of her hot pink down jacket and long hair slightly lifting in the wind as she stood waiting for us. The doors were sliding open behind her.

Seconds later I turned again to say that we were all set to go inside. I looked to the spot were Gwen had just been standing but she was gone. I did that slightly panicked mommy spin where you contort to look behind and next to your body while growing more frantic. Was she at my legs waiting? Had she moved closer and I didn’t realize? No, she wasn’t with me. I looked to the left and then to the right and saw only strangers moving purposely across the sidewalk, oblivious to my rising fear.

In my mind’s eye, I saw her standing before the sliding door as it opened behind her and realized that she probably just moved inside the doors to wait for us. David and I went inside expecting to see that little hot pink coat and perhaps scold her for leaving our sight. She wasn’t there. We moved into the store further and frantically scanned the crowds for her hot pink coat. Adrenalin began coursing through my body and I grew lightheaded as I began shouting her name, “Gwen! GWENDOLYN!” David was doing the same thing at the other end of the store. We kept looking at each other, hoping that the other had spotted Gwen or heard her little voice calling in response. Each glance was met with disappointment and increasing panic.

The store announced a Code Adam and locked the doors while we all searched for our daughter. The police were suddenly there and the people who had been locked in with us gawked in nosey horror. One woman shifted on her feet, rolled her eyes and sighed about the inconvenience of being locked in Wal-Mart while the police searched for my missing daughter.

I sat at a table and realized that as I sat, someone was whisking my little girl away from us. I painfully recalled all that I had learned about criminal patterns and behavior when I earned my degree in Criminology. I never expected those lessons to apply to me. I never expected to be sitting somewhere helplessly realizing that the longer my girl was gone, the likelihood of her return dwindled. I desperately tried to push away the thoughts of rape and homicide, but couldn’t. I began screaming her name. In my dream, I realized that I would probably never see her alive again. David tried to hold my arms and the police officers attempted to calm me down but I fought them and began to run through the dream Wal-Mart searching for Gwen…

I woke up with a gasp, covered in a thin film of sweat and saw my beautiful girl peacefully sleeping next to me in her purple Tinkerbell nightgown. Her freshly painted hot pink fingernails were inches from my face and she held Bun-Bun in the crook of her left arm. Slowly, my breathing returned to normal and I wiped the tears from my face. I rolled over and hugged my Cookie tightly, thanking God that I was able to wake up from that nightmare.

You know what make’s me feel better? A vote from a reader. That’s right, one little click and you will effectively help fill my day with rainbows and unicorns. Plus, I’m thinking of making the move to this new blog site…


  1. my3littlebirds says:

    I've had dreams like that too. What an awful dream to have after a perfect evening!

  2. Missy (& various in Transplant blog) says:

    I've had not only dreams of scenarios like that, but also "visions" during the day of those possibilities. They seem SO vivid and SOOO real. It literally can give you a heart attack.

  3. Rancher Mom says:

    I have a lot of dreams like that as well, mostly about my youngest for some reason – sometimes at WalMart and sometimes he just disappears in front of my eyes.
    I find it funny that I never wanted kids ever, and now I couldn't even begin to imagine my life without them.

  4. Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy says:

    How horrible…I hate dreams like that. They always seem so disturbingly real. Your description of it had my heart racing for you!

  5. Slidecutter says:

    When my son was three, we were at the Danbury Fair, the very last year that it was held. Was photographing him in a petting zoo, went to change camera lenses, looked up and he was gone.

    Don't have to tell you about the terror that took control of me. Everyone in our group ran in different directions, pushing through the crowds of people. I headed towards one of the parking lots and spied a couple, with my son on the man's shoulders, heading towards a car.

    No exaggeration, I grabbed my camera by its 300mm lens, chased the couple and grabbed my son, ready to hit one of them with my Nikon. My husband came flying after me just as the couple shouted out…"you should have watched him better" and they disappeared into the busy lot.

    What still bothers me is that, in that crowd, no one offered to help; they just stood there and watched.

    My son is 32 now; I still have nightmares about that incident, can still see the faces of the two dirtbags who tried to take him.

    Frightening, story No.7..research just what the dream really meant other than staying out of Wal-Mart.


  6. Mrs. Sherman says:

    Sorry but this will be a 3 part comment. 1. Ever since I was little I knew I wanted to be a Mom and ever since I was 12ish I would have nightmares of me being mid thirties and someone kidnapping my child while in a busy store. I have had the reoccurring nightmare since 12 and it has set the tone for our store visits since I have had children. It has always scared the living hell out of me!
    2. I love the name Gwendolyn! Beautiful! I also think you daughter is so cute and I feel horrible for you and that you had that nightmare. It is so hard to calm down after waking in such a real panic, I dont think they are nightmares, when you wake like that, it's more realistic to call it night terrors or night trauma..these episodes are very traumatic and it really is hard to recover or to even fall asleep again for fear you will have the same nightmare. Kiss your sweet pea and hopefully you will have rested, terror free night for ever.
    3. this one is in response to slidecutter: holy shit!!! That is SO scary! I assume outings from that point on were very stressful and scary for you. What a horrible experience! I would have loved to hear the story end with you wacking them upside the head anyway for good measure and future notice. I pray that they never succeeded in making it to the car with any other child. That is absolutley terrifying! I am so happy and relieved to hear that you were able to find you child and he is a safe 32 year old!
    OK now, somehow I have to get the courage up and make it through our previously planned school carnival with all the kids and not have a panic attack! Hope you all have a great day and a fantastic weekend!

  7. Cuh-razy! I survived an attempted kidnapping too. I was 9. But Slidecutter's story freaks me out!! Does he remember?

  8. I hate nightmares. They always manage to throw your day off before it's even started! Hope my vote makes you feel better!

  9. Ms. Rice says:

    Wow!!! That sure was a night terror!

    When I was pregnant with Kathleen and we were living on a Navy base, I had a scary experience. We just returned from grocery shopping and I was bringing the groceries in the house. When I came back outside Nate, who was 2, was nowhere. I ran down the street to the park shouting his name. I was literally freaking out!!! With my heart racing, sweat coming down my face, and near tears I got back to my house and saw him hiding in the bushes in front of my house. I grabbed him and started crying telling him how much I loved him and was so frightened. Yeah, and apparently none of the other moms on the base cared to hear the panic in my voice….

  10. This actually happened to us last summer. We were on vacation at Bethany Beach and went with another family we were friends with. They had already set up at the beach and our family were a late arrival. Our kids wanted to play at the water while we set up our stuff so the other family took our kids up to the water. Ro was diligent to try to keep her eyes on the kids up on the water while we set up but with the thousands of people, beach umbrellas and birds – it was to say the least – very difficult to keep a constant eye on them all even tho they were with another set of parents. One minute they were all there and then the very next went Ro went to go look, Alex, our second son was gone. We ran up to them to ask them where he went and they didn't know. Frantic was not an adequate word to describe our feelings. Ro went north and I went south yelling Alex's name at the top of our lungs. Thoughts of him being in the water were only fought with other thoughts of him being taken by some sicko. Other adults started yelling Alex's name as well while we ran up and down the beach looking for him. Ro was a hair short of a mess – the only thing keeping her together was that Alex would have been surely lost had she broken down right there. Honestly I couldn't tell you how much time had passed because it could have been 30 seconds or 30 minutes, but a woman carrying my son approached me with Alex in her arms and passed him over to us. Alex was oblivious to what was going on. Carrying him back to the middle where Ro waiting anxiously was both quick and taking forever. I don't think she let anyone out of her sight further than 5 feet for the rest of the week – especially Alex. It turned out that Alex was bored and tried making his way back to our place, but instead of walking straight back, he walked in a diagonal direction back towards us and to the right missing us completely and then eventually turning right altogether heading straight south. It was without a doubt one of the most desperate times of our lives. The empty feeling burning at the pit of your stomach is something that you never forget and I still churn at it when thinking about it almost a year later. It's definitely a horrifying feeling dream or reality, but still be glad that it was a dream versus reality. Nonetheless, I'm sure all your kids will benefit from it one way or the other.

  11. Oh, and Slidecutter…you need to write a blog post about the Danbury Fair kidnapping.

  12. Oh god, Sunny! Joe did the same thing last year at the beach. The tide was out and we were exploring the tide pools and trying to catch crabs. One minute he was there and the next he was gone. I was frantic. My mom was with me and Gwen..they started freaking out too. I was calling his name while my thoughts alternated between drowning and kidnapping. Luckily, the tide was out, so unless he laid himself in a puddle and stopped breathing, I knew we were good on that end…I ran down the beach yelling his name and, thankfully, a lot of people were ready to jump in and help out. Some folks looked as concerned as we did. Turns out he felt like heading back to our "spot" and simply failed to clue me in. He got lots of hugs followed by a nasty tongue lashing. It truly is the worst feeling in the world…I can't imagine the countless parents who don't have the happy conclusion and sigh of relief. I just can't fathom their pain.

  13. Yikes! Super scary. So glad it was just a dream!

  14. What a terrifying dream!!! I've had dreams that seemed so real that I wake up the same way, covered in sweat and just so thankful it was a dream.

  15. You guys and all of your horror stories!!! HOw am I ever going to take my kiddos out to public events??!!! I'm usually all by myself with 4 kids…and it's super hard to watch all of them. Now I'm going to be paranoid! Thanks!!!

    What a freakishly scary nightmare. I lost our oldest…he was maybe 16 months old. My mom and I were running through the store crying…that little turkey was "hiding" from grandma. I've never been so scared!!

  16. Pennington says:

    Wow! What a horrible dream! And I hate to wake up from a dream like that. Your body is racing and even though you know it's a dream you just can't calm your mind back down so easily. Hopefully hitting this little button will help some! LOL.


  1. […] before I begin, let me state that my friend, and fellow blogger, from Narragansett No. 7, wrote a haunting post recently entitled “Nightmares” where she related a dream she had […]

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