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The time my office caught on fire because I was on maternity leave

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It seems like every woman who has ever been pregnant can recall a handful of crazy dreams about all things impending motherhood. They’ve dreamt about giving birth to toddler-sized babies who come out fully dressed and speaking in sentences, they’ve dreamt about nursing kittens, they’ve dreamt about giving birth while co-piloting in a twin-engine plane with Hugh Jackman. (Okay, I made that last one up, but it’s probably happened to someone.) I’m sure I’ve had some crazy pregnancy dreams along the way, but I can’t remember anything specific. What have I been dreaming about, though? Work. Yay.

I finished up my final official work project on Tuesday, and Tuesday night, I had not one but two dreams about disaster befalling my company–the most devastating being that the entire building (which was my office but not my office in the way that this always happens in dreams) was burned to the ground in some sort of unfortunate accident involving highly combustible tomato plants. (I know, right?) I remember seeing the building a shell of brick and cinders and thinking, “Well, there’s nothing I can do about that. Might as well just go home.” Hmm, symbolic much?

It could be the dream was simply a result of general anxiety mashing around in my brain and attaching itself to whatever else is floating around in there–the tomato plants growing in my backyard garden, the fires raging out of control in several states–but it could also be as obvious as my feeling a little bit “homeless” now that I’m on leave from work until mid-October. Or even that somewhere deep in my little control-freak heart, I think the whole company’s going to collapse without me around. (I don’t actually believe this. At least I don’t think I actually believe this.)

The good news is that it doesn’t really matter. Whatever happens there in my absence not my problem to deal with, and wow, what a liberating yet completely foreign feeling to be just…done (albeit temporarily) with something that has for so long been such a big part of my life. I’ve done this before and have no doubt I’ll get used to it real quick-like. Here’s hoping my subconscious can also let it go so I can enjoy these last few baby-free nights sleeping instead of waking up in a cold sweat.

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