Ever since college, I have had a recurring dream which begins with me entering finals week and in which I remember that I have been enrolled in a course that I forgot about until the last week. The final test is the first class of that course that I attend (I had a few in real life where that was practically true, including one in which I set the curve. My recent qualification for Mensa probably helps explain this; having a roommate who was a religious class attender and copious note taker helps even more, though). Anyway, this is not a happy dream.
Last night I had a dream in which I realized that I had a baby that I had forgotten about. One day, I remembered her, and rushed downstairs to check on her (about 9 months late, but hey, I was doing my best). She was fine, miraculously. I was horrified at the thought of her down in the basement, alone, for nine months, while I and the other two kids went about our daily business. It turned out that my wife had been taking care of her at night, which, in my dream at least, explained the baby's good heath.
This morning it crossed my mind that there was more truth in that dream than I'd care to admit. I am not always the most attentive parent during the day. I usually disappear to the basement after supper. I know for certain that there are stay-at-home parents who do much more with their kids than I do, whose kids watch less T.V. Still, I don't feel guilty. I do enough, I am also certain of that.
A couple days ago, the baby was crying so hard that he was having trouble breathing. Nothing I did helped. Eventually my daughter walked over to us, and patted him on the back. She bent down and said soothingly, "It's okay, it's okay. We're all here. Daddy's here, I'm here, mommy will be here soon. You will be okay, Baby Brother." If I have taught her nothing else, I have taught her enough.