Last night I dreamed I was 5 years old. I was at my parents’ old house on Silverwood Drive, the one with wood paneling walls and linoleum everywhere. My brother was a baby, sitting in his high chair, getting spoon-fed by my mom (ok, so he would have been nursing probably. My timing is off. Maybe I was really 6.) My hair was still red – really red! – and I was fully aware of everything in my adult life, I had just gone back in time to experience it again.
I knew it was my job to warn my mom she better take good care of her feet so she wouldn’t later get injured and not be able to enjoy her morning walks with the neighbor. I wandered down through the teal dining room and yellow hallway looking for my sister, who I planned to ask for her help with turning me into a runner this early in life. Of course, if I were 5, my sister would be 2, so I’m not sure how much help she would have been yet …
I wish I never stopped riding my bike all the time.
I wish I never stopped swimming all the time.
We are all triathletes as children, are we not?
I wish I didn’t quit piano lessons. Mom and Dad told me I would wish this, and I wish I had believed them.
I wish I didn’t quit gymnastics.
I’m glad I quit ballet (boring!)
I wish I had appreciated my red hair and said “thank you” to the neighbor who called me “Carrot top” instead of getting upset.
I wish I had been nicer to my siblings and more helpful to Mom (especially after spending the week with my nieces; I totally wish that! Although, seeing Mia act that way shows me that it’s normal. So, sorry Jenny and Kevin, but my behavior was normal.)
But if I could go back, and change all these things, I know that I would be an entirely different person now. Apparently an extremely athletic, musically gifted, psychic person … And if changing these things would mean a different me, I would have to pass – I love my life so much now I wouldn’t want to be a different person!
The weird part about the dream, or not-so-weird, was how real it was. I know that house like the back of my hand, and it was all there in the dream. I saw my room that was mine and then was mine and Jenny’s and then was Kevin’s. I saw a tiny, tiny bathroom but it didn’t seem tiny to me back then. In contrast, Mom and Dad’s bathroom seemed huge. I saw the peach walls in their bedroom and the foyer – the room I spent the least amount of time in except during Christmas because that’s where we kept the Advent calendar. I even saw Amy riding down the street on her bike, even though my timeline was off – if I was 5, Amy and I wouldn’t meet until two years later.
When I woke up I felt sad, almost like I had just suffered a loss, knowing that chapter in my life was there and then it was gone. In an instant. The moments we have with family and friends are so short and so fleeting. One day we’re in the moment, and the next it’s 26 years later and we don’t know how life has passed by so quickly.
And then I had the thought that one day I will look back on this moment, and I will wonder when it all got away from me. Let me savor it now.