Monday, March 2, 2015

Small Dreams

They come home most days and pour a bowl of cereal.

Maybe it's because they don't eat breakfast at home anymore, or maybe I somehow indoctrinated them without really trying. Nothing spells comfort and relief like an unfussy bowl of Cinnamon Chex.

They crunch at the island with their feet tucked beneath them and I stand on the other side stirring something on the stove. I flip through homework papers and ask the same two questions, "What did you have for lunch?" "Who did you play with at recess?"

This is a tradition I'm carrying down, one ingrained from my own childhood as I filled my cereal bowl up to its rim.

We slide into motherhood full of big ideas. We decide things that are years from being known. We borrow trouble from the future. We believe our three-year old will never survive life without the pacifier we've been reluctant to take, but it's so hard to weigh all the voices. "Let him decide when he's done with it." "Rip off the Band-Aid. He's too old."  It seems like the biggest problem in all the world, because it is. He's our child and we're the mom and the years seem so long when we measure all the small opportunities to not screw everything up.

(I truly believed Calvin would accept his high school diploma with his paci clenched between his teeth.)

There are victories to celebrate and wounds to tend - all kinds. We see the bitter seeds of discontent and unkindness take root in tender hearts while we quietly despair and wrestle ourselves.

And we dream big dreams.

I search the faces of Asian men, ink-haired with wives and bank accounts and cars and hobbies. I'm looking for my sons. I see them.

I catch glimpses of my daughter when she doesn't know I'm watching, hear the way her voice booms a sunny alto when she doesn't know I'm listening. She's changing before my eyes, growing and learning, all with that big head of curls. I envy the rest of her future, because it gets to have her in it. It belongs to her.

They end most days with their noses in a book, and this was another quiet dream of mine, the sort of dream I knew didn't really matter, but that I held onto just in case.

There are things my kids and I will never share, like my knobby knees or the way I never got homesick as a kid. I couldn't pass on my blood type or my inborn knack for spelling.

But so much of me has sifted through the cracks of our differences.
It didn't have to be this way, but I won't complain.

And so, we'll carry on together.

We will celebrate the perfect bowl of Peanut Butter Cheerios.
We won't refuse to try new foods - a diverse palate is our friend.
We will notice things like flowers in a vase, sunlight through a pane, or the perfect phrase to describe how we feel.
We will love books, and sleep well at night.
We will mix our patterns with panache.
We will make art, and we'll never stop.

These are the days of small dreams coming true.
These are the days for remembering small is actually a pretty big deal.

{Ruby is officially obsessed with the entire Geronimo Stilton series and Calvin is into the Dive series. (affiliate links)}


  1. "I envy the rest of her future, because it gets to have her in it." -- oh my word this. yes a thousand times.

    my 5 year old loves to be read to, he loves to be cozy, he says things like "oh dear" and "goodness me", and I know there will come a time when it's good and right for him to separate, to differentiate, but today is a day to be thankful that family is so much more than DNA

    thanks for the reminder :)

  2. It's really special to see the things we hand down to our kids, knowing that it can't *all* be genetic. I see myself in my kids, but I know that a lot of it is because I'm their mommy, not because I gave birth to them. It's lovely to see that and know that our 'little dreams' are becoming a reality in a way that may be completely different than we envisioned them!
    My daughter has loved the Geronimo Stilton series, too! Such fun books :)

  3. I love the small things in the world. I am glad you and your tinys do too!!

  4. This really hit home for me today. Took my son for a haircut this morning and the lady said, "Oh... does he look like his dad?" and I said, "No... not really", which is a huge understatement because my son is Asian and his dad is blonde. But it just caught me off guard, because they ARE alike in so many ways and he has his dad's sense of humor and they like to dress the same and when he comes into the kitchen while I'm cooking and says "what can I help with?", it's his dad's voice I hear behind it. It's easy to forget that strangers can't see how much we share, but I sure rejoice in the similarities.

  5. That line about envying her future: I've felt it in the deepest part of my heart. It's such a bittersweet idea to loll around. I'm amazed at how you find the words...again. Hugs, missin' you!

  6. Oh, yes. Motherhood, no matter how it is bestowed upon you, comes chock full of beautiful angst.

  7. Being an adoptive mom, and one who is really really disheartened and struggling as of late, I really LOVE this post! LOVE it!

  8. I literally wrote a similar 'post' in my head the night before i read this. i realized i'd explained how a new learning disability (to us) effects my son to a complete stranger, but I'd never gone to the trouble of writing down the 'what if' plan, you know the one, the letter to whoever will have your child, if in the event of catastrophe. morbid a little, huh? but reading your 3/3/15 post, I realize, I adopted these kiddos of mine, have integrated them in to our craaazy families, and in doing, wanted to trust everyone they'd know what to do. But have realized there may be somethings... i really need to share, like in black and white. They know their 'stories'. Not worried there. But know that all of the unwinding we've done over the last year, it would behoove me to share. for realz.
    I love your posts everyday. everytime.
    I didn't write the post, but grabbed my to-do list and got busy. Thanks for the motivation. you may not see the connection to this post, but I did. Thanks for always inspiring. Eating Rotel dip and chips in your honor.

  9. oh! and I ordered those Dive books on your recommendation!! planning ahead, so they can sit at the table when they come home and read! !!

  10. Kaishy loved Geronimo Stilton so much. Sometimes he still reads them. Shhhh. Bria hates reading. I tell he we are disowning her if she doesn't change her book loathing heart.

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