She was three. Just released from a far-away hospital after life threatening brain surgery, ready to take on world again. I was happy just to have her back. My little "Mr. Clean" (shaven head and hoop earrings) and me driving along to our local mall. Hanging out with dad day. I recall her words as if it were yesterday.
"Daddy, can I get a treat?"
As she was understandably spoiled (if there is such a thing), I replied "ok honey, but just ONE". Her eyes beamed like Fourth of July in anticipation of that something only she knew at time.
We drove around to new end of mall on normal seek-and-destroy mission of capturing a parking place. After all, it was Saturday. We landed a fair distance from our destination, and began walking hand-in-hand towards entrance, her pace gaining momentum with each tiny step. A few feet from doors she broke loose and ran hands-first into thick wall of glass, trying with everything she had to swing big doors open. No luck. With a little assistance, she 'did it' and tried very same thing at second set of doors.
It was then that I asked her what she wanted for her treat. Without hesitation, she matter-of-factly said "an ice-cream comb from ice-cream store". Ok, goal was set and we were in mall!
But hold on! What was this? At end of what was just an ordinary looking lane of retail chain outlets she spied something new- this huge fountain, water shooting who knows how high into air. The new goal line!
She ran, and I walked (don't ya just hate it when parents let their kids run wild in public?), and we arrived at spectacle at about same time. The turbulent noise was almost deafening. "Daddy, can I make a wish, can I make a wish?" she screamed as she jumped with kind of pure joy we've all long since forgotten.
"Sure honey, but that will be YOUR TREAT you know" I explained (gotta be firm with these kind of things).
I fumbled around in my pocket and pulled out what I think was a dime (big spender) and placed it in her outstretched hand. She cupped it tightly, closed her eyes and grimaced, formulating her wish. I stared at that little scrunched-up face and said my own kind of prayer of thanks, feeling so blessed to still have this ball of energy in my life. And then like a shooting star, coin was flung into foaming water and with it, her wish.