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)}