Woman sleeping
Credit: Monica Buck

I don’t think mine is what it’s supposed to be.

Last weekend my husband’s family came to visit, and one night over dinner we got to talking about recurring dreams. You know: Like the one where you show up for a final exam and it turns out that you didn’t go to class all semester. According to our very small research sample (five adults and three kids), everyone in the entire world has this recurring, not-prepared-for-the-exam dream. Well, maybe not Baby; after all, he’s only 3. But Eldest, at age 15, claims to have had this very dream a number of times. (Uh, don’t you have to be an adult and long out of school to have this dream? Apparently not. For all I know, Baby has had it too, even if he can’t pronounce the word “recurring.”)

So what’s wrong with me? The only kind of recurring dream I appear to have involves being a neglectful mother. Last night I had a dream that Baby had an accident so horrible that it woke me up. And then, when I finally fell asleep again, I dreamed that we had a giant burlap bag of kittens in our basement.

Who knows what Dr. Freud would say about this. But, for the record, I have never dreamed that I missed class for an entire semester. (Or, for that matter, that I showed up to give a speech and had no clothes on. Which is the other dream that everybody on the planet seems to have.) But I am constantly, constantly neglecting some helpless creature in my care. What does that mean?!?!?!