I dreamed I was fishing with my Dad, the Engineer. We were in this boat we had when I was a kid, on a familiar lake. I haven’t been fishing with my Dad in years, but he’s the person who taught me how to cast a line, how to aim for a particular spot and make my lure hit it. I always thought the casting was the most fun and had little patience for sitting and waiting part of the equation. A number of years ago, the last time I was fishing with my Dad, I threw the line out pretty well. He had looked on, prepared to help me with some friendly reminders, but instead he just said, “Hey, good cast.” I had to laugh at his surprise because this was so like my Dad. He would teach me things and then be surprised when I remembered them years later, as though he expected not to have any real impact. In his defense, I’m sure plenty of lessons did go in one ear and out the other.
In my dream, I caught lots of fish, of many different varieties. I remember wondering if we would have space in the boat to hold them all, but I gave them to my Dad, and somehow he found a place for them.
Perhaps this is the new way of things, the relationships we have with our parents as adults. We use the skills they taught us to pull incredible things out of the world. We share those new discoveries with our parents, and in this way, we feed them the way they once fed us. Perhaps their new job is to find enough new space to store the catch in the familiar old boat.