75: The Party

75: The Party

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

The Party

It was possible that a miracle was not something that happened to you, but rather something that didn’t.

~Jodi Picoult, The Tenth Circle

I had tossed and turned most of the night in a restless sleep. I slowly opened my eyes and yawned as I looked out my bedroom window. It would soon be sunrise. With only a couple hours of sleep, I didn’t know how I was going to get through my hectic day. It was my daughter’s third birthday, and I had so much to do before the guests arrived for her party. I wanted everything to be perfect.

It was only 5:00 a.m. I needed more sleep, so I closed my eyes and managed to drift off again, but then I had the most vivid dream.

Heather’s birthday party was about to begin. I was rushing around, tidying the house and preparing food for my guests. “Mom, when is everyone coming over?” “Mom, can I have just one treat?” My daughter kept interrupting me with questions.

Feeling overwhelmed, I turned to her and said in a stern tone, “Heather, enough. I have a lot to do! Go and ask your dad!” With a sad face, my daughter went off to find her father.

I called out to my husband, Harold, to tell him I was making a quick run to the grocery store for some last-minute items I had forgotten. I could feel the stress as I rushed out the door. Just then, I heard a loud crash coming from inside my house. My daughter’s cries were loud and terrifying. I tried to run to see what happened, but my legs wouldn’t move. My body was weighted down, and I was stuck. I stood frozen in fear. I couldn’t reach my daughter to help her!

I woke up startled, confused and with my heart racing. The dream was so realistic, I thought it actually happened. I looked at the clock and realized I had only been asleep for a half-hour.

It was useless to try to fall back to sleep. I decided to begin my day and get a head start preparing for the party. I decorated the house with balloons and streamers. I made over a dozen goody bags that were filled with candy and small toys for the kids to take home. I finished making platters of finger foods, and I was very proud of Heather’s Rainbow Brite birthday cake that I made!

The morning whizzed by, and soon it was the afternoon. Guests would be arriving in less than an hour. “There,” I said with satisfaction as I put the finishing touches on the cake. Now I just needed to go to the grocery store to buy the birthday candles I had forgotten to purchase the day before. In a mad dash to beat the clock, I called out to Harold to let him know I’d be right back. As I headed out the door, I froze. This was just like my dream! This time, I didn’t freeze. I ran back inside the house, just as my daughter was leaning on the glass dining room table to reach her drink. Everything after that went in slow motion as I saw her crash through the glass table top. I was able to grab the back of her dress and lift her up before she hit the floor.

As my daughter wailed, I searched her body to see if she was hurt. She was startled, but she didn’t have a single scratch. My husband stood there in shock. The thick glass had caved in on the chrome base of the table, with huge, sharp pieces of glass and shards everywhere. One large wedge of glass had been so close to my daughter’s face. I shuddered to think what could have happened if I hadn’t gone back into the house, and if I didn’t have that dream.

My daughter was shaken up afterward, but I’ve learned that kids are more resilient than adults. A few minutes later, she asked for her drink as if nothing had happened. As a mom, that was a relief. After Harold and I cleaned up all the glass, we had a few minutes to spare before the guests arrived. We sat down to compose ourselves.

The birthday party went off without a hitch. It was a wonderful diversion from what had happened earlier. That night, in the quiet of our home, I reluctantly told Harold about my vivid dream. I thought he wouldn’t take me seriously, but he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Your dream saved Heather from getting badly hurt. What a great birthday gift you gave her!” I smiled up at him with heavy eyes as I drifted off into a much-needed, sweet slumber.

~Dorann Weber

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