Remembering The Dream

I originally posted this essay on my blog on June 16, 2006. Now, fourteen years later, our son is age 16 and we are once again, going through another phase in this crazy journey called life.

As I reread my own words from so long ago, these are like a gift from my younger self, the message I most needed to hear today. I hope you enjoy them too.

Here’s the story:

When our son was two…

“One of the greatest lessons our son has taught me is that we are always changing and growing. Our son relishes and enjoys each stage he is in, then moves on. There was a time he was so into ducks—it was all he talked about. Then, excavators and bulldozers. Then it was Humpty Dumpty. Each time, we thought this was “it”—we had finally mastered what made him truly happy, we “knew” him. Each and every time however, like clockwork, as soon as we think we have him all figured out, he moves on.

As his parents, I think we sort of fooled ourselves that somehow, we were exempt from all that “phase” stuff, the luxury of childhood. As adults, we were meant to stay in place. After all, we were all done growing. Weren’t we? Fortunately, something else was at work, much wiser than we. Even though we were ignoring many of the dreams we had once talked about passionately at a much younger time in our lives, the universe hadn’t forgotten.

Before having our son, my husband and I had often talked about “going west” –to experience life on the west coast, not just to visit as we had in the past, but to live full-time. Doing so, however, had seemed daunting. How would we make ends meet? How could we let go of all we loved so much? How could we unravel ourselves from our beloved web of connections? And lastly, once we had our son came the pervasive thought, “How can we leave this place that seems so good for him?”

Even though we tried to forget how strongly our souls were beckoning us to try something new, the universe didn’t. Last winter, my husband was recruited by a firm in the Bay area in California and unexpectedly, we were being handed a dream we had resigned ourselves to ignore, or at least had convinced ourselves was too daunting a leap to take, too complicated to figure out, too selfish to want. After many long job interviews (and even more arduous interviews between he and I as we dug through the guts of our souls deciding whether to stay or go), he accepted the job.

As we ventured out of our comfort zone in New Jersey with toddler in tow, we found our new home–an apartment we would have dreamed of, if only we had known such a place existed. And, here, miraculously, on the other side of all the decision-making and the U.S., we are living our dream, a dream so beyond what we gave ourselves permission to hope for, we hadn’t even fully conceived of it.

The funny thing is, our son likes it here. A lot. Better, he tells us (as best he can at age two) than New Jersey. Of course there are many things and people we all miss. But as far as I can tell, if Barry Neil Kaufman was right when he wrote, “No single energy can be more impactful on this planet than the joy and well-being emanating from one truly happy and loving person,” then our decision to move was wise.

Now that I am here in this new place, both in location and life, I remember. This is what I asked for in those silent spaces of my heart when I was ignoring my yearnings on the surface. This is what it feels like to want to live forever because each moment is such a miracle. This is what it feels like to be a small microcosm within the great big orchestration that I call divine.

As I watch the sun glistening off the water, pelicans flying overhead and my son happily playing with his toys by my side here in California, I give birth to a new dream. May I always remember that life is a series of phases, one new one after the next. May I have the wisdom to celebrate the one I’m in and the humility to welcome the one that’s coming. That is my dream. At least, it is for today.”


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