The theme for Fun Monday this week carried me back to the double bed that I shared with my sister Trish. There was a time that it sat in the unfinished basement where its headboard and the headboards of my other siblings beds were flush against the cold concrete. It was probably a lot like going to summer camp (and I sure wanted to go to summer camp), except we slept there in formation out of necessity. Lucky for Trish and me, Mama pestered daddy until he allowed a small addition and some remodeling that added two teeny bedrooms to what had been a one bedroom main floor. That saved us from the nightly routine of descending those cold basement steps.
In that ancient squeaky old bed I remember waking up afraid. I would cry “Mama” or run through the house in search of her comfort. She would get out of her ancient squeaky old bed and walk me me back and tuck me in and softly rub my back.
That is when she would ask me, “What would you buy if you had a million dollars?”
I would start naming things, none of which I can recall this moment. Mama would listen quietly or maybe nod and respond with a knowing, “hmmmm.” Then she would rub her fingers across my cheek to make sure all the tears were gone.
“You think of some more things and tell me the rest in the morning. Okay?”
“Good night, Pameluji.”
“Good night, Mama.”
Looking back at those moments through the eyes of an adult, I think that dreaming is what Mama did before she fell asleep each night. She had so little. I imagine that with the million dollar windfall in her mind, she was remodeling the house so that each of her children had a bedroom, a bed, a closet, and several chest-of- drawers filled with well-tailored clothes and footwear. No more mended hand-me-downs. A new piano would sit in a conservatory where her children and their music teacher would spend the afternoon in lessons. The evening meal would be savored in a dining room with a sturdy table and matching chairs. Oh! There would be real china and silverware to share with guests. The pantry would be full and there would never be any stress on her part about the next days meals. College tuition would be paid in advance and her children would all graduate with honors. (She was an idealist.) Mama, however, was not so extravagant as to have dreamed about buying her children new cars. Those new shoes were made for walking!
Some nights even now when I have trouble falling asleep I hear my Mama asking, "What would you buy if you had a million dollars?"
With the millions that my imaginary lotto ticket provides, I lie in bed and list all the ways I make life easier for my children and grandchildren. Then I benefit close friends and neighbors with my fantasy philanthropy. By the time my eyelids grow heavy, I am writing anonymous checks to worthy charities. Sometimes I fall asleep dreaming of going to summer camp.
Join Molly and the 10 million dollar dreamers of Fun Monday by clicking here!
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