When I was 7 years old, I didn’t dream of speaking Japanese. I dreamed of building roller coasters. Designing of roller coasters didn’t work out and I’ve now found myself telling bedtime stories to my children in Japanese.
The moment felt surreal and natural. My son wanted to hear about where I grew up. I told him about where I used to build forts and hang with my friends. There was no creative arc and by the time I started talking about Playmobile, I could hear his breathing had slowed.
Along with his cousin’s.
I normally talk to my children in Japanese. Being with our cousins, however, means all communication is done in Japanese.
So there I was, putting children to bed while speaking a foreign language. And I found that It doesn’t matter where we grew up. Hearing about what you did for fun as a child is of universal interest to any child.
The cousin was snuggled up against my left leg and my son was sprawled out near my right. Their dreams for the night were just beginning and I found I was living the dream, just not the one I had imagined so long ago.