“One day, I’m going to be a teacher and a doctor. And I’m going to go to so many places around the world.”
I listened to my then six-year-old, describe her dreams for her future. It was a beautiful dream. I could imagine her doing all the things she wanted to do and become the person she wanted to be. I never thought to myself that she would never be able to accomplish any of the many things she envisioned for her life.
I thought back to a time when I, too had big dreams for my future. I remember my dad telling me that I needed to finish school and find a man with a good job to marry. That was it. Nothing more was expected of me. Yet I desired more. I remember sitting in my room, writing poems and short stories and thinking to myself that I would be an author of best selling books and travel the world. I recall staying up late at night and dreaming of what an amazing life I could have. But I never shared this with my parents. And hearing my daughter tell me about all she imagined for herself made me smile. In that moment, I thought back and wondered what I would want to hear my father say when I told him I wanted to be a writer.
I stopped what I was doing, which happened to be dinner prep, and looked her in her eyes. I told her that she could achieve all her dreams and more. I hugged her so close and tightly and let her know how proud I was of her and how I would always support her. She laughed and said, “Thank you, Mommy. I knew you would.”
My 6-year-old reminded me how it felt to dream and wonder. As adults, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. The on point schedules and hectic chaos we call our lives. We forget what it was like to simply stop and dream. I was able to sit in that moment with my daughter and appreciate her enthusiasm and her desire for a great life.
But I also wondered, is that still possible for me? What was really keeping me from still going after my dreams. I can only allow my past to be an excuse if I let it. I can only allow my present circumstances to be an excuse if I let it. So why continue to let it? What was I afraid of? Failure? But how can you fail at something you have never tried to do?
Being a single parent, my focus has always been making sure my children didn’t suffer because of it. I wrapped my life completely around them and their needs. Wait, look, another excuse! My children should be the reason WHY I go after my dreams, not the reason why I didn’t! What an eye opener. Almost a major epiphany right there as I was chopping tomatoes. Could I? Should I? I am sure I could go back and forth with myself for hours on end.
Don’t I owe it to myself, to my children, to my daughter who has a dream to actually go after my own? How could I, as her parent, tell her to do something that I wouldn’t do myself? I know many parents, single or not, who have put their lives and dreams on hold in order to give their children the best. My mother is one of them. She wanted so much more out of life but had to stay home and take care of us. I truly appreciate her sacrifice and am grateful for her instilling in me to never give up. So I won’t.
Thank you, my beautiful, smart, talented 6-year-old baby girl for giving me just what I needed. Thank you do sharing something with me that I could never share with my own parents. Thank you for convicting me to no longer accept excuses as reasons. Thank you for the reminder. Thank you.