Last night I dreamed that you and I were walking down the street, hand in hand. You were still at little girl and I was the self I’ve always been (although I am not sure what age I was). We were taking a path that you and I had taken many times years before, but you had been walking with dad lately because I was always too busy to take you.
As I began to lead you down our old route, you told me that you and dad went a different way that you liked better. You wanted to show me but weren’t sure where to turn. I said that you should just move forward and let your instincts guide you; even if you no longer knew for sure which path to take, just go the way you thought was right. We could always turn back if it turned out to be the wrong direction.
When we got to the store, as was our final destination, I went directly to the candy aisle and left you to fend for yourself. You made your purchase as I wandered outside, looking at the view and chatting with strangers. Then you came out with a bag in your hand and showed me what you had bought. I laughed with amazement and tried to take a picture of your purchases. This made you very upset and you begged me to put the camera away. I conceded, not completely understanding why, and we continued on our journey, again hand in hand.
When we arrived home, you took each item out of the bag and laid them on the table. There was two bottles of medicine, a bottle of water, band-aids and a pack of gum. Again, I pulled out my camera to photograph your wares and you became very distraught. I didn’t understand and my instinct was to push you aside, to tell you to not be so silly and take the picture anyway.
Instead, I sat down on the floor with you and held you in my arms. As you calmed I asked why you were so upset. Did you think I was trying to make fun of you for your choices? You nodded. So I explained. When I was a little girl mom always took me to the store and I spent every penny on candy. And if I wanted more than I could afford, I slipped a few extra in my pocket in secret. My only concern was how much I could consume.
Your choices were logical and considerate; whether you knew it or not, your purchases could help yourself and others in times of need. You thought forward, not immediate; you thought of others, not only of yourself; you thought with maturity and compassion, and that was amazing to me. It gave me so much respect for you, and for our father, and I was glad that he had been taking you to the store and that I had not.
With that you wiped away your tears, displayed your wares and stood behind them with pride and a smile so big it competed with the flash bulb.
And then I woke up.