It starts before conception.
Dreams begin. They grow. They bring hope.
A child is born and while one dream comes to life, so many more are being born.
I’ve spent years dreaming these dreams. Specifically 11 years dreaming for my children.
For my daughter. The artist. The musician. The mathematician.
For my son. The imagination. The rhythm. The gifted student.
For my youngest. The energy. The pure joy. The ability to capture hearts.
Oh that they would make good friends, excel in school, find a passion, discover their faith, make their own way in this world. The dreams continue to multiply. And, they also die. Those hopes we have for our one day children that we realize will never come to life. We will not have a star athlete. We will not have perfectly quiet and obedient kids. We will not be the example of perfect parenthood. They will fail. They will give up. They will follow the wrong people and paths. The dreams of a smooth road come to an abrupt halt. Not all dreams come true. Most don’t.
And so as I put my youngest child on a school bus and waved goodbye this past September, I began to realize that I had spent most of my time dreaming their dreams. What had become of my own life and dreams? My own had been so long put on the back burner. For one of my biggest dreams, becoming a mother, had come true and that had absorbed everything I had. I hadn’t gotten to this point, the point where I released my children to dream their own dream and I was left again with my own.
Remembering who I am. Remembering all I held dear. Rediscovering my own gifts. Is this midlife?
It would be so easy to spend my days absorbed in my children and their lives and dreams. But the truth is, that isn’t fair to anyone. While I can love, encourage, PUSH, and support them, they are learning to find their own loves and their own way. Many times, my job is to just get out of the way. So here we are, cheering each other on, getting out of each other’s way. There is bound to be some tripping up and getting tangled up in each other’s dreams and messes. But so many paths are made to walk alone.
They need to dream their own dreams.
I need to dream my own.
They will intersect and they will diverge. Each of us called together and apart. Whether together or alone, we will find our own way.
Deep into summer vacation, I struggle to find rest. I can’t help but wonder what is next.
So for tonite, while I sit on the back porch and wonder.
The fireflies dance.
The birds lend their song.
And I listen.
And I dream.