I've been thinking lately about dreams--those goals and desires around which we shape our choices, our resources, our time. At a very young age, I sought to capture the joy of any single moment with a long-term plan--a compulsion natural to my personality, I suspect, and one I have been struggling to shake since then. I can still recall being eight or so years old, swimming lap after lap in the pool of a family friend. I would beg her and my mom to time me, certain that if I could continue to shave seconds off with each successive lap, I could somehow prove that I was a future Olympic athlete! If you love it, might as well make a life out of it--and be the best, performing at the pinnacle of possibility.
In truth, I haven't entirely lost this drive to somehow be "best" at whatever it is I am doing. In fact, part of my present job is to challenge more women to contemplate "the pinnacle of possibility." As I work in higher education, this takes the form of urging them to consider being a college or university president. I'm willing to accept that not all will choose the path, but I want every single one of them to believe that it is possible and make an honest, reflective choice. But do I honestly wish to be best, or somehow climb to the top, and would I wish this for my children?
I've been thinking it just might be time to make a new list of dreams. I sense this every time I pick up my guitar, and I form the earliest version of callouses that would suggest I am ready to become a serious player. I'll never receive a dime for playing the guitar, but gosh, do I love it. I'd like for my kids to one day remember me giving myself over to these kinds of passions. Matt and I are movie-obsessed--he more than I, but both of us have dedicated countless hours to independent films. (Last night was "Man on a Wire" about the French wirewalker who graced NYC with a walk amongst the clouds between the World Trade Center towers--surely this film in part inspired this post....) I love to think in the future that our children will remember us as curled around one another on the love seat downstairs, exploring the world and its possibilities through the lens of some cultural creative. I want them to know that I loved to dance--and though my public dancing days are likely over, it's time we revive our family "dance party" tradition we used to maintain each evening before bed.
What other dreams have we already fulfilled, or might we fulfill now--no future schooling needed, no funds stored up in the bank? Matt makes a mean margharita, and we have certainly been enjoying this talent over the last couple of weeks. I can manage to look in the refrigerator most any evening and create a decent meal out of leftovers. We've picked up a new bedtime routine--spontaneous song-writing, where the kids provide me with 3,4,5,20 seemingly unlike concepts, and I weave them all together into a bedtime song. Potty humor abounds, given that the kids are five and eight, but these precious moments are certainly fulfilling the dream of helping my children to smile just a little bit more each day.
I dreamt for me--and I dream for them--that I would live my life with a companion who would love me deeply and welcome all of me....and this dream is fulfilled each and every day. I want to soak up these moments more, be present for all of them. I'm not terribly concerned if people can say of me that I was the best at any one thing I did--but please, God, let it be said that I was the best at living my life, moment by moment, laid out before me as only I can notice, receive, and acknowledge.
Can you imagine a dream bigger than this? I surely can't....