Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach.

Many scenes from my day flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.

Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times, one.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the hardest parts of my life: Wheat Thin shortages and adult belligerence, I could only see one set of prints.

I looked at my aging, tired caregiver: "You promised me via a sentimental Facebook post on the day I was born that you'd always be there for me, but I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life, there are only one set of footprints in the sand."

My caregiver looked in my general direction and took a slow sip of a grownup beverage before answering.

"You see there...where there are only one set of footprints? That's because you stopped walking. Abruptly. I waited for several minutes but neither threats nor bribes would motivate you to stand."

It was then that I saw that the prints doubled back on themselves.

"I had to go back and get you. People were watching so thank you for that."

"What about those tracks," I asked pointing to two long grooves in the sand that were slightly trampled, again, by only one set of large footprints.

Another long sip, this time deep and greedy as if trying to wash away memories with drink.

"You wanted to push your own stroller. I had to hold you up while simultaneously providing enough momentum for forward motion. This went on for eight city blocks. I may have permanent muscle damage."

Ah yes. That was a good day.

"Ok, but what about these small footprints I see. Me moving through life alone like a homeless. Abandoned. I can only assume that you were busy deleting my iPad apps?"

"No, child. Your footsteps are the only ones there because you ran ahead. Broke into a monkey sprint out of nowhere. You ignored my calls  like a wild dog intoxicated by the scent of baby back ribs. The way you were laughing scared me."

It was all coming back...."Was this before or after I coughed in your face-"


I smiled.

"But what about this day. I see stroller tracks and adult footprints making their way happily, but upon reaching the destination it looks like we turned around and wandered erratically for hours. Was a controlled substance behind these choices?"

My caregiver stared at me for several seconds before answering.

"Shoes are expensive. Small, cheaply made ones are no exception. I don't know when you decided to quietly remove yours and throw them overboard but you did. I've deducted the amount from your college fund."

"I have a college fund?"


This adult had an answer for everything. But there was one more scene that needed addressing. A blank, clean, untouched stretch of beach where nobody's footprints could be found.

"We weren't able to leave the house that day. I'm not going to apologize for that."


Does your child cry daily because you?

The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting comes out tomorrow (May 7th)

Heal your small child's broken heart one Ritz cracker sleeve at a time.

You're very mean.