the big ones

What do you do when you realize you’re right in the middle of living your dreams?

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I don’t mean the new ones, the practical ones, the sometimes-mundane ones — the ones without student loans or with steady incomes or even the ones I sometimes have of wearing a white coat and stethoscope. No, I mean the real dreams: the originals, the dreams your heart made before reality came crashing into the picture pressing buttons that led to downsizing.

The Big Ones, if you will.

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I like to think of myself as a practical being, a rational human guided by logic and reason and thought. Of course, if I do a little self-examination I find this is not the case at all. Oh, honey. If I close my eyes hard, I can hear mama chuckle: practical you may be, but, love, you think with your heart. Runs in the family, she tells me.

Being of a sometimes too-practical-model though, I never made myself a bucket list. I kept my dreams where I thought they belonged: castles built in the air, just like Jo taught me in Little Women. The only ones I even remembered from recent years were both achieved by summer 2007: one. be taller than mom. two. live long enough to read all the Potter books.

… not very high on the aspiration scale, was I?

Well, they weren’t my first dreams. They were the practical ones.

The real dreams, the heart-dreams, the ones I structured into bricks that built my flying castles — I forgot them. I forgot the way my seven-year-old self would sit wistfully in the top branches of the holly tree, the way my eight-year-old self galloped around the table with her friends, the way my nine-year-old self stared in amazement at the noise and brightness of our new city home. I forgot my six-year-old self’s joy in writing and receiving letters, my five-year-old self’s love of teaching geography and math to beanie babies, and I definitely forgot that sense of infinite wonder that came with my four-year-old self learning to read.

I forgot the real dreams in the middle of living, and perhaps that’s for the best. My last decade or so were spent in the midst of my own life, and I’m certainly glad I didn’t miss anything. I hadn’t thought about my old dreams in years.

You can imagine my surprise when I turned around this evening and found myself in the middle of them: to travel, and to write.

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Although, now I think about it — isn’t that what Jo discovered, too?

one day, some day

Hannah Brencher, a favorite blogger of mine and also just an all-around-awesome person, occasionally writes posts to her one day, some day daughter — stories about life and its lessons, its peaks and its pitfalls, its joys and its sorrows.

Me, I’d never thought about writing to any future child of mine.

I pictured journals like my mama keeps for the three of us, cloth-bound and written during the stolen moments: a nap when we were younger, maybe, or a late night when we were all sick and teary-eyed and weary. An early morning, maybe, when her now far-and-away kiddos return from college and journeys and adventures with stories of our own to tell. A moment we wow her, a moment we sadden her, a moment we anger her or maybe a moment we make her whisper thank-yous to the God we know is faithful.

My mother is a teacher in the truest sense of the word. She taught students long before she taught her own kids, but where she taught them English? She taugh us life. For me, it came in various forms – homeschooling, cooking, the beauty in tears and weakness as well as the value of strength and laughter. Cursive, in the past, and reading and writing; how to spell difficult words and use proper grammar and my multiplication tables. History, occasionally, and science (even if our attempt at making rock candy failed). The splendor of this beautiful creation, a joy of hiking, the joy of being where you are and sinking roots, however temporary. She even taught me how to knit, once.

I don’t have one day, some day children. All I have are words and memories, and sometimes the two do not like to cooperate. The memories cause as much trouble as the words these days. My past was easily sectioned, divided, cut, and separated: three years here, three years in the next town, three years there, and just over four years in The City. Then we hit the next city and my organizational system, my geographical sectioning fell apart. We moved, and we stayed. High school, college — still we stay. My map of memories works well enough in my past, but falls apart in my present. They turn into messes of knotted string, the mistakes I made when mom taught me how to knit: impossibly tangled, wound in and around and through each other.

When my best friends turn to me and tell me to write, that there is a novel building up inside of me that needs to be let out — I ignore them… to a point. They roll their eyes at my professions of Ha! Yeah right! and leave me with questioning maybes, with thoughts of chapters and stranded sentences tangled in my fingers, with words unable to fight their way free of my own self.

And so instead of to my one day, some day daughter — instead of words speaking the messiness of life and giving light by which to navigate its twists and turns — I find myself here typing To my one day, some day novel — whether you be fiction or fact or imagined memory, may you find the person that needs you as much as I do, and may that person’s life be rich and full and maybe, maybe may this mess of scrambled words and poached sentences that I’m frying up in my little corner of the world bring them a little bit of clarity about this adventure we call life.

For now, though, my one day, some day — for now, my maybe and perhaps, you will just remain a dream: a wisp of future possibility that clings as close to my soul as my freckles cling to my skin. And one day, if I find the words — when I find the words? — I will pull you in close, whisper secrets into your very self, and coax your skittish self onto the page for more than me to see.