There were nights, when I was younger, that I was out in the cold, in the dark, at night. In a car parked in an abandoned parking lot, or under a tree in a park. Watching the minutes on the car clock tick by, or feeling the endless moments like they would last an eternity. Shivering. Waiting for time to pass. For the moment to be over.
At those times, I would purposely pretend I was supposed to be there. I imagined being surrounded by family I didn't know yet. Camping. Out in the wilderness. No outside interruptions. Creating a bubble of happy in my minds eye. Nothing but time. Nothing else mattering. Cooking over an open flame. Hot dogs. S’mores.
Transported to a place where time was cherished instead of rushed. Where I was relishing in it instead of hoping it passed. Time as a family. Time together. I would think, One day. One day, this much would be possible. One day, I would cherish the moment.
In 2012, I had a baby boy. The first living soul I have met that I am related to. Both terrified and elated. I held that infant in my arms, against my bare chest, on my heart, knowing he was all of my dreams coming true.
He was my family. His arrival gave me my wish. I would spend my life fulfilling his to the best of my ability.
When he was 3 years old, we went on our first camping trip with his preschool. People that would become lifelong friends. Friends that would become my family.
I got to live out a fantasy I once only daydreamed about.
We put up the tent. Watched my 3-year-old boy run around and spin in excitement inside, jump on the inflatable mattress, curl up in the sleeping bag. Seeing him experience the moments I imagined.
We cooked hot dogs and corn on the cob over an open fire that night. We had s'mores. I taught him how to twirl both dog and marshmallow on a stick over the flame. We laughed, we smiled. We enjoyed the fresh air, the wilderness, even the chill, as a family, without any outside interruptions. Nothing else mattered. We had nothing but time. Time I was present for. Time I cherished. Every second.
That day I got to see that not only dreams come true, but they can turn out to be even better than you ever imagined.
That day taught me that imagination is nature’s magic. If you take time to dream. If you picture them in your mind. If you don’t let go. Things can happen if you dare to wish.
I got more than a son, I have a buddy. I got more than friends, I have a family. And I have committed my life to never missing those moments. To be everything to him I wished for as a child. To transform a memory into an imagined reality. To see the magic when dreams come true. And notice the miracles that happen every day if you're present enough to enter a real time bubble of happy.