I remember one visit when we went to Safeway.  We walked in the door.  You were young, probably not 6 even.  I gave you a twenty, said:

<< Don’t ask me ‘can I?’  you have your own money, make your own decisions. >>

I did that for all the right reasons.  Firstly, I didn’t want you bugging me. Secondly, I’ve always wanted you to feel power — like you didn’t have to ask others for permission, stuff, skills, confidence, self-worth.  Didn’t really work out but I did what I could.

You’re more than 10 years past the point when this father could influence who you were to become.  I know those days and what they contained.  I don’t know these days and what comes.  Maybe you can help me with that.

Not sure where i’m going with this, but it’s where I am.  Perhaps a line or two prove useful to you, you know, twenty years from now, and here’s the rest of that Safeway story:

So, Safeway.

We went through every stinking aisle.  Cookies, Mac & Cheese, licorice, hot chocolate.  I pushed the cart, you took a box of cookies off the shelf looked at me you said

“can I?”

I shrugged.

<< i dont know can you? >>

<< put whatever you want in the cart, you’ll sort it all out later. >>

Over by the rotisserie chicken stand we stopped.  I went and got a second cart.  You pulled each item out of the first, looked at it 3 different ways, did the math in your head.

“I really want this, but i want that more.”

<< ok >>

Everything you decided against you put into Cart #2.  Done.  You seemed satisfied with your decisions, and came in at right about $19.  You, me and Cart #1 checked out.  Didn’t even bother putting the other stuff away.  Cart #2 sitting there sad, lonely.