When my 5-year-old and I say his prayers at night, I always pray for him, and I ask God to “give Mac good dreams, and let them all come true.” I want my child to dream, and I want him to dream because I want his life to be exciting. I want his life to be big.
Dreams make us feel like something magical could be just around the corner. Dreams are that sense of hope that makes us live with anticipation. They make us believe that possibilities are endless. They bring color to our lives. They make our hearts race.
Dreams allow us to imagine.
I want my children to live as dreamers. I want to encourage their dreams; I want to foster them as much as is practicable. I want to talk to them about those huge ideas that run around inside their heads. I want to know where they came from, why they chose them, and what about those particular ideas makes them feel like, if they can’t achieve them, they won’t be able to breathe.
But what about our dreams? What about my dreams?
Sometimes it feels as if, the older we get, the less we dream. We begin to lose ourselves with our first real job, the start of our career. We lose even more when we begin our families. There is always a lunch to pack, an appointment to keep, a deadline to meet, a diaper to change. Our days become full of all of the things we must do, all of the things that keep our husbands in clean clothes and our children fed and our obligations met. These very full days are fulfilling in many ways; we know our efforts are important, vital even, to the growth and health and happiness of ourselves and of our families. We don’t regret that we have to do them. We get tired of some of it, yes, but we chose them, and we embrace them. It is all part of the package of being a big person, a grown-up.
But have we become dreamless adults? Have we become what we are working so hard to teach our children not to be?
I’ve decided to dream again.
Since I was young, I’ve always wanted to write a book. It is a lofty dream. I read other people’s books all the time, and I know I’m not as eloquent, not as crafty, not as imaginative, definitely not as funny. I’m also not delusional: William Faulkner, I am not.
But I’ve decided that it is just fine for me to dig out that big ole dream, dust it off, and give it a try. It honestly has never been my goal to be the next Faulkner or Welty or even a lesser Southern literary goddess. I have a story in my head, and it has been there for a long time, and there is nothing literary about it. If it were to be published one day, it would not be studied in classrooms across the country. It is just a little story; it is the kind of story I like to read.
I pulled out my old manuscript on January 1st of this year, and I’ve started working on it again. I lost the entire thing due to an unfortunate computer crash a while back, so I’m now taking on the arduous task of retyping it and editing as I go. Some sentences are pretty hard to read; I find myself cringing a lot. But I’ve taken very seriously the editing process and have decided that I can make it through those embarrassing-to-myself moments. This past weekend, I attended a writing conference. I felt like a complete imposter. There were people in that room who are already published. There are people who, though aren’t published today, most certainly will be. But I went, because even if no one else takes my dream seriously, I am. It was just a step...one of many itsy-bitsy baby steps that I will take in this process…but it was an important one. It was inspiring and it was interesting and it was informative and it was very, very scary. In other words, it was exactly what I needed it to be.
Now that I’ve allowed myself the freedom to dream of writing a book again, I think about it all the time. Something will happen during the day, and it will remind me of one of my characters. Mac will say something funny, and I’ll think, “That should go in the book.” I’ll drive past a place of business or a farm or through a whole bunch of messy, irritating road construction, and I’ll realize that was the place I was trying to describe in my story. It has given me an alternate universe in which I can dwell from time to time. And that under-developed world that has endless potential has made changing diapers and packing lunches and meeting deadlines and keeping appointments much less mundane.
And to be honest, completely honest, my goal is not to be a bestseller. My goal is to write a book, to put on paper an entire book-length story. If no one in the world reads it, or if a lot of people read it and hate it, I will have lived a dream.
Not everyone dreams of writing a book, but I would bet a couple of bucks that all of us have something we really wish we could do. My husband has always wanted to have an outdoor television show. That feels like an unattainable dream in many ways, but I wonder what would happen if he decided that it was time to at least try. I wonder what our life would look like. I bet it would be pretty fun.
You might have always dreamed of being a concert pianist, or being fluent in another language; you may have always wanted to open your own boutique or live abroad for a while. I wonder what would happen if you decided that it was time to at least try. I bet your life would be pretty fun, too.
We do what we can to teach our children the important stuff: Be kind. Work hard. Pick up after yourself. Use good manners. I’m adding to the list: Dream big.
I just thought it was about time I took my own advice.
What are your dreams? Do you think it is about time to at least try to make them reality? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts on our Facebook page!