This afternoon my youngest daughter and I were in the car on our way to pick middle daughter up from school. I wasn’t fully present. Instead I was incessantly creating mental lists. I need to take the bread out of the oven. Move the chickens to the garage. Take a shower. Clean out the car. Get gas before our trip tomorrow. Go to work. Bring food to work. Change the dog collar batteries. Buy more dog food. Write a pet care list. Pack. Eat.
Halfway to the school my silent inner chaos was interrupted.
“Mommy?” my daughter asked, “Have you ever had a dream come true?”
Her question shook me and snapped me back into the here and now. I hesitated not sure how to respond.
“Yes.” I finally replied giving her my short answer, “You are my dream come true.”
Satisfied with my response she grinned and began singing softly to herself.
The truth is I am living my dreams. I have three beautiful children, a happy marriage and a successful career as a veterinarian. I’ve been dreaming about all these things since early childhood (I decided to become a veterinarian when I was seven). Only here's the problem: my dream world and reality collided like particles in an atom splitter; the ensuing result an often stressful life full of concern, worry and second-guessing.
You see my dream career was to be challenging, fun and exciting. Any medical or people issues would be easily resolved James Herriot style with a quick quip or bucolic amusement. Days like this didn’t exist.
Raising children was to be equally as simple with no work versus home anguish, no arguing, biting, shouting or hitting, no concerns about childcare. The children of my dreams did not need their bottoms wiped. They did not vomit on me in the middle of the night. They did not cry when I left for work. They did not act like this or this. And it certainly did not involve days like this.
My ideal marriage left no thought as to who would do the laundry or dishes. Food would magically appear on the table. No one had to drag a crabby pre-schooler down aisle after aisle at the grocery store. It was all about hugs and kisses and snuggling and daily deliveries of floral bouquets. Chores, money concerns and child-rearing issues simply did not exist.
Now I am living my dream life in the real world. Today I did not lie. My children are the epitome of a dream come true. But I gave my daughter a truncated response. The full answer would be something like this:
“Yes, baby, all my dreams have come true. They're just not what I thought they’d be. But, if I had it to do all over again, I would not change a single thing.”
Someday her dreams and reality will also collide. I hope she feels the same.
Today is Thursday, aka Love Thursday. Today I love my life broken dreams and all. What do you love?