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.