When I was young I remember we had a dream interpretation book in our house. Because I was only about eight or nine, I really couldn't comprehend how to turn a whole dream into one word to look it up, but I know that I was fascinated with the thought that dreams meant something special. I had a grandmother who had passed unexpectedly and I used to dream quite frequently that she would come into my living room and say, " I know I left quickly and didn't get time to say goodbye, so I am being given a chance to spend the night with you, what do you want to do?" In the dream I remember thinking you are not alive, we can't do this, so the dream would end, but it kept recurring every now and then. I didn't realize that I had any power over these dreams or that they may have been visitations as I was just too young. Throughout my life I have always had patterns of dreams. I always wondered if others had recurring dreams as well. Mine always seemed to involve a car. When I was very young my recurring dream was that my older brother who was about twelve at the time was driving us all around in a car. We would be driving up and down these very steep hills and sometimes he would go very very fast and I would be petrified. I dreamt this dream a lot when I was younger . As I got older and my life started to become much more complicated and the recurring dreams continued. Pregnancy dreams were very unusual and again recurring. I would dream almost nightly that I gave birth to a puppy, and I was the only person in the room who thought it was unusual. Everyone including the nurses would be crowding around the hospital bed, congratulating me and telling me that my baby was beautiful. I would be screaming " But it's a puppy!" And my mom would say this is the most beautiful baby I ever saw and people were bringing baby gifts. No one would listen or acknowledge my insistence that this was not right, although the puppy was cute, it was an animal. I remember feeling like I was invisible because no one would even listen to my concerns, and I wondered if I was crazy. I chalked these unusual dreams up to bad food and strange hormones. Once my son was born, I don't believe I dreamt much because he never slept more than two hours at a time. Other than the not sleeping, my son was a happy baby who reached all of his milestones on time, some even much earlier than he should have. Sadly around the age of eighteen months he started to lose many of his skills including his ability to speak. He was starting to withdraw slowly and was finding more and more pleasure in inanimate objects than in people. I voiced my concerns to the Dr, and once again I felt like the girl in the dream who was screaming that the baby was a puppy and something was wrong. The Dr kind of wrote me off and said many children go through stages like this and not to worry to much about it. The dreams started to reoccur again, back to the car. But in these dreams I was now driving the car and it was never in the usual way. I would be driving the car full speed in reverse and praying that I didn't get into an accident but no matter how hard I tried, I could only go backward and not forward. I also dreamt that I was driving from the passenger side instead of the driver side, but the controls were still on the driver side. I would first wake up in a panic, only to be relieved that it was only a dream. But soon the reality that something was happening with my son that I could not control would hit me and I would literally struggle to catch my breath as waves of panic would come crashing down hardon my chest. This was a very stressful time in my life, I was fresh out of college, working at a job that was emotionally draining and involved abused and neglected children. My motherly instincts would not let go of the fact that something was very very wrong with the way my son was developing. The common "stage" the Dr assured me of was getting worse and worse, my job was getting harder and harder but I felt if I just ignored the problem it would all work itself out. I mean my son had all of these skills, they couldn't have went too far. Maybe it was because I was working, or because his Dad and I split up, or because we just moved into our own apartment. No matter what excuses I would conjure up, there was a nagging part of me that knew something was very very wrong. And almost every night in my dreams the car would remind me of how little control I had over the whole situation. Now I was driving the car from the backseat but the controls were in the front, so I would have my legs stretched over the seat trying so hard to hit the break or the gas. The car was always moving very fast and I was always in some kind of position that prevented me from being in the driver’s seat, so to speak and being able to maneuver this vehicle. I couldn't reach the pedal, I couldn't move the stick shift, and sometimes my vision would go blank and I couldn't see, In front of me. The car would be going forward then all of a sudden start going backward. Everything was mixed up. If I were in the front, the controls would be in the back. I was always reaching to gain control but to no avail, and every night I would narrowly miss driving off a cliff or into another car. Looking back now I could clearly see that my subconscious mind was screaming to get my attention. Finally when I couldn't take it anymore I demanded a full evaluation and my son was diagnosed on the spot with autism. Once he was diagnosed and started receiving treatment, even though I was hurting inside, the car dreams started to ease up. I then began having the usual dreams of my teeth falling out, they would make a loud clinking sound in the sink while I was looking in the mirror. Other minor but common themes such as not being able to remember my locker combination at school, forgetting my homework, or being naked in class, would invade my nightly travels. As I look back I can see that my dreams were preparing me right from my pregnancy that something was going to be very different about my son, and it was not anything I could control. Had my subconscious mind been warning me to prepare? Warning me to put my seatbelt on and prepare for a life that would depend heavily on faith. Was it a lesson that I had to surrender my need to control? When you put it all together it certainly seems to be a logical explanation. It just amazes me that things that you think lay dormant in your waking life have a way of presenting themselves in cryptic symbolic ways when the rational mind shuts down. Hindsight is always 20-20 and perhaps I may be reaching but it just seems too real to be coincidence. It reaffirms to me that the subconscious mind is very powerful and picks up on a lot of things the conscious mind misses. I have more examples of patterns of dreams that have happened since, and I take these patterns seriously and carefully consider what they may be trying to tell me. I completely believe in dream interpretation but I also believe that it is an individual experience and while dream dictionaries may be fun to look over, the REAL interpretation comes from within and is much too powerful to chalk up to someone else’s generalized guess as to the messages that your dreams are trying to tell you. Think about your own life. Do you have dreams of recurrent themes? Do they happen during particularly stressful times in your life? With a little bit of knowledge I think we can learn a lot from our dreams. This is not to say that some dreams aren't just freaky bits and pieces of life jumbled together into a confusing and even amusing story. I have had and continue to have those dreams and they are fun when you can remember them. I am talking about those nagging repetitive dreams that don't seem to go away until an unfinished piece of your life begins to make sense. So my advice is pay attention to those, they are definitely trying to tell you something.