Sleep still blurs my vision as I type. I watch my hands on the keyboard. I can’t look at the screen yet. It’s too bright. But this couldn’t wait.
Brooke and I were walking through a crowded square, a marketplace of sorts. She was older, her hair was blond. She looked different, but she was still Brooke. Unmistakable.
She walked up behind a girl in a faux fur jacket. She stroked the fur gently, using just her fingertips. “Oooh, soft.”
She kept walking.
The girl turned around, shot her a dirty look.
I smiled wearily. A practiced, tired smile. “She likes your jacket,” I said, “She just wanted to see what it felt like.”
We moved on through the square, headed somewhere. I was following, not leading.
This older Brooke looked up at me. Not yet my height, still a child. Nine maybe? Ten?
“In school, they keep a token board for me. When I walk by something like that coat without touching it, I get a token. Because it’s unexpected to touch someone’s clothing without asking. Maybe we should try that at home.”
Dream Brooke shrugged.
I caught my breath. Stopped in my tracks.
She didn’t notice, kept walking.
I was already crying. “Brooke, please come over to Mama for a minute.”
She looked at me, reluctant to move closer. She saw the tears.
She took a tentative step toward me, let me pull her the rest of the way.
I folded her into a hug.
“Brooke, I know my reaction doesn’t make sense, honey. But you have to understand. For years, baby – YEARS – I’ve waited for you to tell me about school. Anything. I just ..”
I had no more words. I hugged her and I cried.
I woke up squeezing my pillow and catching my breath.
Last night, I walked into Brooke’s room just before bed. She was sitting on Matt’s lap reading this book. SHE was reading it to HIM. With very few exceptions, she sounded out every word. When she got stuck, she asked for help. She read the whole thing.
She READ a book. Nine months ago, that could only have happened in a dream like the one I just had. I could not have imagined a scenario in which she would be reading within the year. Try as I might, I couldn’t figure out how we could help her get past her overwhelming anxiety so that she could handle the frustration of learning something so monumental. I didn’t know how to help her focus long enough to begin to decode words. Or to WANT to.
Nine months ago, I would have had to have fallen asleep to be able to watch that scene unfold.
But now, there it is.
I let the tears go as I watched her read. If she noticed them, she didn’t say so. Luau left the room and we began our nightly routine. I held her close. “Brooke, I’m so proud of you, baby.”
She nuzzled the top of her head into my chest. My little kitten.
“Do you know why I’m so proud of you?”
She turned away. “BECAUSE (the long practiced why/ because still emphasized) I’m so happy.”
She hit the nail right on the head.
Dreams do come true.