And so we dream
It's cold outside, freezing in truth, and so she cuddles all the closer to my side. "Read this one, Mom." I gladly open the pages to a book we've ready many times over and start it all again. It never gets old. When I come to the end, she takes charge, "My turn."
Her small hands hold the binding far from us so we can both look at pictures. She doesn't notice how I only see her. She recalls words that I've just spoken aloud, and speaks them with authority until we come to the end. She tosses the book to the floor then closes eyes to meet dreams.
I'm sad today. I've been counting months in my head, and the number is getting smaller. There is only a short time before she will be heading off to school, and I won't have a little one to cuddle with at nap time. My heart is grieving just a bit, for time that has been realized.
When I was a little girl, I spent my days playing house. I had a favorite baby, Jessica, who wore a sweet cream dress with red knitted trim and bloomers to match. She went to church with me, all wrapped up in a blanket and nestled inside a cardboard tomato box with a thin wired handle. I would put her on the back of my Cabbage Patch big wheel and race down Harbury Drive to my makeshift grocery store. Sometimes we would stop for gas.
They say our dreams come to us when we are small. They begin to work their way to the surface
as each year passes. Some of us realize how the dreams we strive to achieve as an adult were really there, in these small ways, all along. I'd image Michelangelo was putting fingers in the dirt, creating crude versions of the Sistine Chapel. The little girl, me could have kept him company making my own art in the form of mud pies for my family.
As a high school senior, I was faced with the ultimatum of what I wanted to be "when I grow up." I pursued nursing more as a goal than a deeply burning passion. Four years later, I reached over a swollen belly to grab my diploma. I'd accomplished a goal while growing a dream.
It's been almost 12 years since that day, and I'm sitting in the living room of my lovely home regretting the tears that are dripping off my chin. My head is forming a dull ache as I'm trying to come to terms with this new stage of life. I sigh heavy and reason that the inevitable days are no surprise, that I knew they would someday arrive. It's all seeming a bit like death and I am lost in some awful stage of mourning.
I think about the past and dance slowly along the edges of an unknown future. I have time for that now. I see how God has blessed me with the deepest desires of my heart, and how I have so much to be thankful for. My husband has worked hard to provide for our family, so I could stay at home with our children and not miss a moment of their growing. All four have been the realization of a dream that was planted inside of me long ago. I marvel at how they are dropping hints toward their own dreams in all these small ways.
It comes to me quietly, the reason for my sadness. It is whispered into my thoughts, and the more I give it attention, the better I can hear the truth of it. My dream is not dead, as I had imagined, but instead has been wonderfully fulfilled. This is not an occasion for grief, but of joyful thankfulness. I see how the chapter is ending, but also how the book is not finished. The pages are blank, waiting patiently for me to author a new dream, one that I suspect, has been waiting since I was little to be written.