shifting dreams

I want to be self-sufficient.  I want to be debt-free. I want to build a home off the grid, live of the land, have a ceramic studio, raise animals and teach my children to do the same.  Or so I think.

Alan wants to be a school principal.  In the meantime he wants to pursue his Ph.D in Educational Administration.  He has no interest in my dream of living off the land and he doesn’t want the responsibility of any animal, let alone a cow that needs to be milked twice a day.

Because I love this man and want to be with him forever, I choose to shift my dream.  My dream requires his participation; I will not force it onto him.  I choose to fit into a new framework that respects his space.

I have had my way plenty of times over the course of our almost 12-year marriage: the babies, the cat, the house, the parenting style, the organic food and natural medicine, the no-vaccinating, homeschooling, homebirthing–those were all my ideas.  And he has embraced them, every single one.  I am fortunate; I know that.

This time it is his turn.  I will shift my dream to make room for him, room for us both.  A compromise.  Perhaps we can have some land, but a regular house that is on the grid.  Perhaps we can have a few animals and grow some food, but not so much that it requires machinery and a lot of manpower.  Perhaps I can have a clay studio and he can have his motorcycle workshop.

I am shifting my disappointment into possibility and compromise. A new dream.

We can’t always have exactly what we want, but if we are flexible, we might get something even better.

finding my voice

Revisiting my older posts gives me a sometimes awkward glimpse of my journey.  At any given moment I seem to think that I have mostly everything figured out, that I write in my authentic voice.  But in going back and re-reading my words, it becomes clear that I didn’t have everything figured out.  My voice and words from the past seem inauthentic now; my ideas seem off.  Perhaps authentic at the time, but not now.

Exploring and evolving all the time is how I find my voice.  My voice changes as I grow.  I am steadily abandoning total idealism and moving onward to realism.  I am finding the desire to say it with fewer words.  Less is more.

Having a blog is a reminder of where I have been and where I am, though at times, awkward.  Still, I like the continuity this blog has given to my life, the connectedness between my years, its nakedness.  It is safe to be me.

Mama and Mia book club

My biggest girl is eight.  She is growing before my eyes, morphing into a new form of personhood that feels suddenly foreign.  Her mannerisms, her sense of humor, her enjoyment of making faces in the mirror–they are typical, but new.  Typical of someone who is eight.  New to me, although I suppose that once upon a time, I was a very similar eight-year-old, morphing into someone new.

She will never be little again.  To say that it doesn’t hurt would be untruthful. The other day I decided that I am going to try my darndest to make the best of this, without holding her back, without getting too nostalgic.  Be in the moment.

Mia and I started a new tradition of choosing a book to read together at bedtime.  Only she and I will read the book together; not daddy, not by herself.  It is ours. Our club.

When we’ve finished a book, we write an inscription in the cover so we always know when we read it.  We will save the pile of books and she will soon have a collection of memories and good books that she may one day read to her children.

I have always read to Mia, but not so deliberately.

Doing things deliberately makes them special.  Doing things ritually and with pleasure makes them sacred.

We are on our 3rd book tonight, Miracles on Maple Hill.  We tried out a few pages of Huckleberry Finn, Roald Dahl’s Matilda, and the American Girls series before landing on Miracles on Maple Hill.  That one was just right.

Our first book was Charlotte’s Web, our second, The Hundred Dresses.  Charlotte’s Web is one of my favorite books of all time.  It is beautiful.

Our Mama and Mia book club is a blissful end to the day.  Truly.  It is a chance for us to snuggle, be still, and connect.  It keeps me in touch with the new person she is becoming.  It lets her know that with all the changes that are still to come, I will still be here: beside her all the way.