Last night, I dreamed that Riley’s front teeth died in his mouth. Mine died, too, and not only were they dead, but also they were brown and smelled rotten. The night before, I dreamed the world was going to end after I gave Dylan lunch. Under the circumstances, I gave him his favorite snack instead of forcing him to try new food. Amazingly, he asked for carrot sticks. Then I was forced to leave my sweet boy nibbling on carrots and wait for the planet to explode. Do I need a dream catcher or what?
I learned from the Internet this morning that dreaming about teeth, and especially about teeth falling out, is sign offear and anxiety. I didn’t bother researching “death and destruction in dreams” because I’m pretty sure it means something bad,too. Interestingly, dreaming about carrots has something to do with fertility and having abundant “hardy” offspring.
I am freaked out about the real-life fate of Riley’s front teeth (we go back to the dentist next week), but I’m pretty sure these nightmares also have something to do with the anxiety I feel in the pit of my stomach around this time every year. This Sunday is the tenth anniversary of September 11th. Mike and I were in New York City on that day – newly engaged, living in Brooklyn, working downtown and making the most of our twenties. I wrote a blog entry about it last September, but I never published it. Coincidentally, it was inspired by a visit to the dentist of all places. Here’s an excerpt:
I went to the dentist on Monday morning to have my teeth cleaned. As the hygienist lowered me down to a reclining position, my eyes became fixed on a framed poster on the wall of the World Trade Center towers. I wondered if they knew the picture was hanging there. I wondered if it was a mistake or a tribute. I wondered how many people sat in this chair and stared at it while their teeth were scraped. I wondered if they felt as sad as I did when I looked at it.
I read an article in the New York Times about a month ago about people who suffer from PTSD as a result of their experiences that day. It’s mind-blowing how the psychological consequences of that day have turned thousands of people’s lives upside down. I don’t have PTSD, but the truth is that I can’t look at images of September 11th (or think about it or talk about it or hear other people talk about it or read about it or watch TV shows about it) without tearing up. The emotions of that day sit in the back of my throat and feel as raw now as they did on that perfectly warm and sunny day ten years ago.
Honoring September 11th has always been difficult. Ten years and a whole lot of life changes later, I’ll mark the day at a 5th birthday party. Considering my current state of anxiety – when I’m awake and asleep – going to a birthday party seems like a pretty good idea and a great distraction. I hope I’ll have a better time controlling my emotions when the boys start asking questions about September 11th in the years ahead. In the meantime, I’m going to make the most of our Sunday plans and be a Grateful Mama for the boys’ precious, small worlds.