When I was a little girl I used to lie on my bed with my cousin, who was more like my sister, and we would day dream out loud about what our lives would be like. We were very progressive 8 year olds in the 1980’s so our dreams consisted of not caving to the traditional confines of the stay at home mom, and we would work hard toward some sort of fabulous job such as… secretary or teacher. And always in the dream there was the moment of meeting the perfect man. Well the perfect man for us, who almost always was our boss or a doctor we worked for. This is what progressive feminism looks like through the eyes of 8 year olds in 1983. We knew that after we met that man, we would fall in love, and with great expediency we would get married. Soon after we would have a few kids which our perfect man would cherish just as much as we did. So basically the dream looked like this…Step #1 Get a Job,Step #2 Fall in Love, Step #3 Get Married, Step #4 Have Kids. A very methodical simple four step process, right?
As with most simple processes, I screwed that up, so here I am out there again. This time I have the kids with me. Except, they aren’t kids. They are teenagers…teenage girls…who require an entire level of time and attention that rivals the time required of Lindsey Lohan’s legal team. My girls are busy. They have friends to see, activities at school, required readings, homework, college prep, church activities, and chores at home. Okay fine, the chores at home is about me dreaming out loud again. They need me to be a confidant, a doctor, a taxi driver, a tutor, a maid, a short order chef, an errand runner, a personal assistant, a Laundromat, a psychologist, a disciplinarian, a rule setter, a butt kicker when necessary, and above all they need me to be a soft place to land. This is why “Step #4 Have Kids” was last. It sucks up every moment of free time into a black hole instantaneously.
But today, I’m also working on “Step #2 Fall In Love”.
In between all of those things, I need to find a way to be charming and sweet and smart and insightful and attractive, and funny, and appealing. These things require a great deal of hard work. Honestly, sometimes I’m just trying to not fall asleep in my dinner, and praying that I have matching shoes on. In my quest for Step #2, I need to remind myself that this is part of my dream. I want love, I want to pursue it in my all go, no stop mode. I have to remember that it’s okay for a moment to choose me. The mom in me has to remember that I can’t be everything they need until I honor who I am. Sometimes, I have to remember that I NEED to choose me.
Even though I screwed up my dream originally, it’s still my dream. I still want the job. I still want love. I still want marriage. I already have my kids. Thirty years later, my dreams aren’t really that much different. Occasionally, in my jumbled up journey to achieve the dream I have to just stop. I have to stop trying to make everything perfect. It’s not going to be flawless. It’s going to be messy. Sometimes, I just need to opt out of dinner with my girls, I may have to postpone a movie night with them, and I may need to allow them to sleep while I go out. I owe it to that sweet innocent 8 year old girl to go after those dreams, to pursue them fully, head on. I owe that girl the possibility of real true honest love.