It has brought to me countless sleepless nights as well as infinite moments of awe about the human species. The world I see possible as I watch my children explore, grow and develop into persons all their own is a fascinating journey.
Yet, as a mother I make sacrifices. As a single mother, even more sacrifices. My life long dreams of travel have never transpired. I have yet to obtain my passport as the chances of me stepping foot into another country are slim for at least two more years. I’ve made choices in my life that have somehow kept me from following this dream of travel. I’m sure I’m not alone, and the guilt-voice inside my head tells me this is what happens when you take paths less traveled. You could have taken the way everyone else did: not gotten married at 17, not worked in a dead-end career until you had children with a man that ended up not being a life-partner. You could have somehow convinced him to spend the money on a trip to Europe instead of the 4-wheelers and boat. (The guilt-voice has a lot to say sometimes.) Yet, when this voice takes hold of me, and threatens to drag me into a corner, under a blanket to weep, I have to remember my children and that without each step that I took I wouldn’t have these two exact beings that I tuck into bed every night. One alternate path and they may never even have existed; their smile, their charm, their irritating persistence to challenge every boundary I have attempted to create.
So for now, I have an alternate plan. While I toil (thank you to my daughter’s A+ vocabulary (@xobellz) this week) away at my college studies and make headway with changing the world of education in the one small corner of the universe in which I exist, I think of my single friends and what they are doing. When given the chance I tell them what I would have done differently. How I would have chosen to ditch the guy who made me cry and opted instead for single life until there was someone who didn’t hurt me. I would have spent money on trips instead of cars and dirt toys. I would have gone to school immediately and also gotten my passport. This makes me think of the special person in my life who just went to Germany and experienced a childhood dream to study abroad. This journey of hers began with a text-photo from me of a study abroad deadline poster/advertiment. The deadline had passed and my text read: “Tell me you have already applied for this.” — She hadn’t even known about it. Standing beside her, as a support/cheerleader was hard. Was I doing the right thing to encourage her to take out student loans to make this trip a reality? Was my pressure of “Do it for me, do it for my kids” too much, too selfish? Yet, the day she called, about to pack her bags, and told me none of it would be possible without my encouragement, was perhaps one of the most rewarding days in my life with friends. She experienced something I never will experience. Some day I may travel and go to Germany and stay for a few months, but it won’t be as a student, and I will have responsibilities that are beyond my imagination right now. I’ll be old and … well, there goes that guilt-voice.
So, as I tell you: Follow you Dreams, there is something inside me that is living my dreams through your experience. Don’t get stuck in a rut, power out of it and take chances, take a risk that I can’t afford right now. Do it before you have children so that when you have children you will have a myriad of accomplishments and stories to share with them.
Today I wonder, if I was my friend, as in if I treated myself with the same love, and encouragement that I treat my loved ones… What would I tell myself right now? What would I tell myself as I felt stuck in a limbo-land?