They said it was just a dream. Running into the house, I shouted, “I flew, I flew!” They were staring at me like I was lost in space and like I there was something wrong with me. Was there? I shouted again, “I flew, I flew! The wind picked me up off the ground.” Those words might be a far stretch for any parent to believe. But it was my truth. It’s my earliest childhood memory and it made me smile.  This story is one that was recited continuously in my family by me, and those who were laughing (with me). “You didn’t really fly, Allison. People can’t fly.” And so, their account is that I invented the story. I appreciate their perspective, but when you fly, you know you flew. I remain faithful to what I know is true. I flew.

It was a rainy winter afternoon in south Georgia. We lived in apartments across a rarely traveled road from a farm where an old gray mare lived. I loved walking in the community and exploring. Playing in the rain was one of my favorite things to do and this day was perfect for that very thing. No thunder, no lightning. Just a little rain designed for me especially to play. Sporting a pair of sunshine yellow rainboots and my little umbrella I went to explore the rain and developing puddles. As I was out, the wind kicked up taking me by surprise. The wind whipped filling the underside of my umbrella with air, lifting me from the ground. Mind you, it was only a few short feet, but I was airborne. It was scary and exhilarating at the same time.

A lack of validation for my feelings planted a seed of insecurity. I later struggled to know how to express my feelings without feeling judged. It’s crucial for healthy development that we listen to our children and communicate an understanding word of their beliefs. If we don’t, in essence, we judge them.

If you have children, I strongly encourage you to listen to them when they speak and validate their feelings. They might be using their imagination or what they share could be real. In either case, healthy parenting validates and nurtures the child.

What about your memories? Were they confirmed or too imaginative for others to understand?

I’d love to hear your earliest childhood memory and what you learned from the experience.

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Photos by Bekah Russom and  Patrick Fore, on Unsplash