When You’re a Mom with a Dream

This one is from the archives. I did some light editing. I needed it today. Maybe you too?

Dreaming is for teenagers, people who have nothing better to do than lie on the hood of their beat up car and stare at the night sky. For people who can stay up late and not pay for it the next morning, with no one but themselves to feed breakfast.

Dreaming is for college students, for people whose parents still list them on their health insurance. For dorm rooms and coffee shops with acoustic guitars ever-present and couches pulled in off of street corners smelling vaguely like mildew and cigarette smoke.

Dreaming is for newlyweds, for couples holding mai-tai’s on a beach in Jamaica, or in their parents tent sipping a cheap bottle of gas station champagne as they talk about ten years from now when they will have a house and some kids and enough money in the bank for a real honeymoon the second time around. The grandparents will take the kids and the couple will fly to Hawaii, first class.

But dreams are not for me. The kids are in the patched up kiddie pool in the back as I stand at the kitchen counter typing with one eye on the splashing and shouting praying the duct tape holds for another 20 minutes, just until I can get the words out. They are naked again. Swim suits cost me too much time.

We are past that ten-year mark, my husband and I, and even my body seems to be fighting the dreams. Dreamers don’t have muffin tops, or full-time jobs, or kids that need health insurance. Dreamers aren’t supposed to be interrupted by thoughts of responsibility and who will pay the light bill. I need to go to the grocery store and the Goodwill; I don’t have time for dreams.

And, then someone asks me to dream. To put away the what-ifs and the how is that possibles. To simply sit, blank page in front of us and pour out the things that are hidden in our hearts.

I leave the TV on so I won’t become fully engrossed in this activity. I am afraid it is going to hurt. I know it is going to hurt. I think if I can distract myself enough I will be able to keep a part of myself protected. I underestimate the depths and volume of this calling of my heart, this thing they call a dream. It is loud, LOUD and big and a little scary. And now it is on a less than blank page, refusing to be ignored.

Who has time for dreaming? Not me. I have kids to raise, dinner to cook, groceries to buy, a school year to prep for. I have a book to write. I do not have time for dreaming, I have a children who won’t go to bed.

Moms aren’t supposed to dream for themselves. The dreams should be folded up and tucked away, replaced with onesies and swaddle blankets. For now at least, those dreams belong to your babies. That is the lie I have been believing: These dreams of mine have an expiration date; my dreams and my children cannot go-exist. My creativity must now belong to motherhood.  Here I am, two small children and a dream, none of whom will be ignored, all three shouting at me to be fed.

I write at the kitchen counter as the kids come in and ask for waffles for lunch. Waffles in the toaster, I realize we are out of syrup and spread some jam my friend made on top.  The girls clamber for more. Later, I am writing in the car in the parking lot of the grocery store, both of my children asleep in the back seat and I realize that while feeding my children and my dream I only managed to feed myself the bits of waffle my youngest threw on the floor. Will feeding my dreams will always leave me this hungry?

I’ve tried to pack away my dreams, to leave them folded carefully away in a plastic bin labeled, some day. I have tried to wait them out, to throw them out, to simply ignore them. It leaves me hungrier than coffee for breakfast and half a jam smeared waffle off of the floor for lunch. Like these girls I grew tucked safely in my womb, these dreams grown in my heart were given to me, and are demanding and impossible to ignore. It is part of their charm. I love all of them just like that. I’m a mom with a dream. I’m the mom of a dream.

Maybe dreams are for moms too. Maybe dreams are for people who go about their day at the grocery store, drive their kids in a circle in the mini-van until everyone’s head slowly drops to the side, maybe some days nap time is for dreaming cramped in the driver’s seat of the mini-van or standing at the kitchen counter just trying to get the words out. Maybe suppressing these dreams is a waste of my time and with everything on my to-do list I shouldn’t add that.

Maybe I don’t have time not to dream.

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