Monday, June 23, 2008

Loose teeth and other mysteries


It's that week again. The secret week of bliss. But don't tell. I'm working...remember? If anyone asks, I'm working, and it's hard work.

But truly, the work leading up to the opening day of the workshop is hard, and the first day is, if not hard, then stressful. I have to give a speech to a roomful of strangers and field myriad requests and complaints from the participants and faculty. I'm very good at faking poise and aplomb. Underneath, I'm all sweaty palms and knocking knees.

Last night, my nervousness about opening day bubbled up in a seemingly unrelated anxiety dream. This dream revolved around a current household drama, the drama called "when will Owen's first loose tooth fall out?"

Ever since I told Owen that the tooth fairy makes a very big deal over one's first lost tooth, he has been obsessed with its potential date of loss. He begs me for details, "Will it fall out in one day? Two days? Three days and 4 hours?" He has always required precise answers to his questions; unfortunately, I am not well-versed in the typical behavior of loose baby teeth. So I give vague answers, and he is crazy with anticipation.

In short, the loose tooth is a Very Big Deal.

So in my dream, Owen's tooth came out, and he gave it to me for safe keeping until bedtime. And I lost it. On a beach covered in tiny tooth-sized shells. For hours (in dream time) I crawled on my knees in the sand, frantically sifting and sifting and fretting and fretting. But I failed. I woke up before I found it.

It was one of those dreams that exposes very tender vulnerabilities: not only my fear of forgetting some detail for the workshop, or of failing to do my job in some way, but also the deeper, more penetrating and painful fears of a parent, the fear that I'm going to let my child down, scar him in some way, and, ultimately, lose him.

All of this incoherent rambling is an attempt to purge the uneasiness the dream left in me. I can't stop replaying it, feeling that panic and worry. And I realize that my worst fear, in my professional and my personal life, is letting people down, exposing myself as an impostor, as someone who never should have been given the job.

11 comments:

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

I used to have those dreams. But now that I realize that I scar my children all the time (especially my teen daughter, like every time I breathe) and they are still okay, the dreams have gone away.

Now I have the nightmares where they are still living with me when I am 70.

Marie said...

I hate those dreams that stick with you the next day, leaving you feeling just as rotten all day as you did all night. Good luck with your opening day!

Anonymous said...

Whatever you do, just make sure you get that tooth fairy that doesn't forget to come get the tooth. We have that bitch, and let me tell you, when she "forgets" the third night in a row, then you really wonder about her abilities to parent, ya' know?

Mad Mad (who is very mad, mad at Blogger for not letting her comment more easily. Stupid Blogger!)

Britt said...

i'm loving your blog! i love kid stories

Mean Mommy said...

I'm peeing my pants, Mad. Oh holy crap, I can totally see that happening. Not the FIRST time, but the 3rd or 4th...

Fire that damn fairy! Or is she union?

LitTeacher said...

My dear sweet sister. Every teacher feels that she (or he) has no business actually TEACHING. But you do! You are not scarring your children. You do have the right to teach. You are brilliant and capable. I swear. (Now tell me the same before I step into my AP Lit class in August--promise!!!?) Love you!

Mean Mommy said...

Awww, litteacher. That's the nicest comment you've ever left. :) You're brilliant and capable, too!

BabelBabe said...

i have lost teeth. I have forgotten to leave money. i have left the tooth the tooth fairy supposedly took out in plain sight. our tooth fairy SUCKS. and Primo seems ok. so far. i'll have to ask his therapist in twenty years...

womaninawindow said...

Yes, yes, it is the same picture. I used this one, too. Right here - http://womaninawindow.blogspot.com/2008/04/finally-icing.html

OK, OK, it's not my photo. All the current one's I use are. Just surprising. Now I've got to go and read.

womaninawindow said...

Oh, I feel for you. Lost teeth dreams are absolutely the worst. No shit. For me it's the losing my own teeth, the decomposition of self. I see you there on the beach scrambling. Don't worry, it's right there, in his mouth silly. Do fine. You will.

(I can't get over the lovliness of that name - Owen.)

Anonymous said...

We used to have the WORST Tooth Fairey in the world. She actually got arrested for embezzlement, and had a drinking problem. She's left behind 5 teeth at a time and when she did come, killed the guinea pig. We know this because our little girl found the actual tooth near the guinea pig's cage in the morning, and he was dead.
The Fairey Association had to get her a new Fairey, and all seems well so far with this one, although she is 16 and who knows what will happen when she goes off to college.