As a little girl I was filled with wild, exciting dreams for who I would be as an adult. Aren’t we all, though? There isn’t anything remarkable, in a sense, about a child dreaming, except that the dreaming often ends when the first job, bills, and weighted sense of responsibility fly through the door of adulthood.
My parents gifted me with the belief that I could accomplish nearly anything I tried, and so I did. I’ve tried on different careers like a toddler changes clothes throughout the course of the day, and similarly, I’ve enjoyed them all at a very surface level.
When Kirk and I crossed the threshold into married life at the ripe old ages of 22, we excitedly embraced all of those adult decisions and tossed aside any other aspirations. Our dreams became mature and practical, like good-paying jobs and the desire for a nice house in a safe neighborhood. And it was for those material aspirations that we made our schooling and career decisions. There’s nothing inherently wrong with desiring those things, except that we pretended like what deeply mattered to us didn’t and our priorities were confused.
Shortly after our oldest was born nearly 6 years ago, we entered a dark period. We deeply intuited that something was missing, and we weren’t entirely sure how to fill that empty aching that we were both experiencing. Sure, we loved our new role as parents and the promise of our future family life, but at the same time were scared witless.
It is far easier to play pretend, to shrug on the assurance of middle-class living goals, and to instead shove all the mismatched puzzle pieces of life that remain under the rug.
Fast-forward to two years ago when the shit hit the fan, and our multiple charades were crumbling to dust around us. It was time to come clean, with each other and ourselves, to carve out an existence that felt honest and real.
These days we share our dreams with each other and our girls, and more importantly, we dream and plan together. Instead of shame and guilt over who we cannot be, we’re embracing our future selves. We’re traveling an unknown road, and yet, we already know where we’re going.
We’ve heard through the grapevine of others who think that pursuing a music or a writing career, like we are, is reckless with children. And to that I respond: pretending to be something we’re not is reckless. Our old lives had a shiny veneer of respectability, but the inner support walls of our family were weak and flimsy. We pursue this more honest version of ourselves not out of selfishness, but to show our children that dreams do not die when childhood ends. We are fighting for a better life for our family, all of us, one that is ripe with happiness, unity, deepening of our faith, and fulfillment.
There is a way to bring dreams to fruition AND create safety and security for your children. We’re doing the delicate dance of clutching both of those goals tightly, lest we forget either of them in the process.
So my hope for you is that these words encourage you to find hope in dreaming, to pursue what matters to you, and to create a family life that encourages you all to be your very best, most fulfilled selves.