When I was young, I had grand dreams of living in Los Angeles. I would have a pool and everyone would love me.
Laying in bed at night, under a blanket of stars and faded yelling, I would imagine my own life with children. I would never scream. There would never kidney beans and rice for dinner. They would never try to hide their shoes behind the legs of their chairs. I would not keep bottles in my flight boots or take my children’s babysitting money. Someone would always have a job. There would be a a town we called home and trees to climb.
My family would smile constantly like the beautiful people in the frames. I would be a grown-up wearing wisdom around me like a robe. There would be summer birthday parties and every weekend, we’d picnic and find ducks to feed.
As an adolescent, I longed for the soothing, breezy summers with Dad. Listening to the ivories downstairs while playing in a closet as big as a room. Begging Dad to jump in the condo complex pool in between games of Marco Polo with my sister. Hiding secrets and one worn, Virginia Slim in the back of my box of letters from boys I loved and then moved away from. With every new home, two trash bags of memories shed to lighten the load.
I dreamed of a life, easy and carefree. Dreams looked different then.
As an adult, I have finally accepted that great understanding is not scheduled to rain down. I will continue to think and rethink my words and decisions. In times of horror, where no logic can be found, we will put one foot in front of the other, half-blind and hoping for the best. With our loved ones and children, we are not meant to live the life pictured inside of a frame.
Throughout all of my pregnancies, I would go through moment upon moment of terror. Then, they were born and love bigger than a thousand oceans occupied every atom. Every thought. Cautiously directed my every movement. My babies were the dream.
Now, my dreams are very simple.
Let them live.
There will be burdens, worry and mistakes. I will fail them. There will be sadness and longing and want, but, please, let them live.
Of all the dreams I ever dreamed, every pore of my being screams this. Let them live to be heartbroken. Let them live to be disappointed. Let them live to long to leave us and embrace their independence. Let them live to reach their goals or to fall short. Let them live to fail and pick themselves back up. Let them live with choices they may regret. Let them live to fall in and out of love. Let them live to have children of their own. Let them live. Wrap my love around them to protect them and breathe in let them breathe out live.
Dreams look different now.