I awoke from a dream in the middle of the night last night. In the dream, I had heard a noise and the dogs were restless so I got out of bed and was looking around to see what was bothering them. I went into the living room and something caught my eye. I heard a voice.

“Dad it’s just me,” I felt a hand reach out and pat my leg. “I couldn’t fall asleep in my bed.”

I looked down and it was Ryan, but the seven-year-old version of Ryan. I suppose the dream was shaped by the reality that Ryan is just starting a new job and we had moved him to Tulsa over the weekend. But there I was looking at the tall skinny blonde haired boy that he was at seven and hearing that same young voice talking in a hushed tone.

In the dream, I replied “Why are you on the floor, at least get up into one of the big chairs.”

Ryan whispered “Ok,” and curled up into a big leather chair that was eerily like one we actually have.

I sat down in another chair beside him and we exchanged a few words then seven-year-old Ryan spoke of where twenty-four-year-old Ryan was and said

“You know I won’t be coming back home to live here anymore.”

I chuckled and said “There will be holidays and some weekends.”

“Yeah, but it won’t be the same,” the young voice of Ryan said.

“I know, and that’s ok, now go to sleep,” I heard myself say. “Here hold my hand.”

Grabbing my hand, he curled up pulling my arm across him like a blanket.

I whispered, “One last time.”