SUCH ARE THE DREAMS
When she was young, before she had formula stains on her clothes or crows’ feet around her eyes or stretch marks, your mother had dreams. In those dreams, she was a singer or artist or engineer or a CEO. She wore designer clothes and her hair was always perfect and she always had a healthy bank balance—no one ever looked at her debit card with disdain. Her vacation plans never included fast food or Motel 6.
For many mothers, there was a man in those dreams. Strong, handsome, intelligent, and sensitive, he never left his dirty clothes on the bathroom floor, never left the seat up, and never forgot her birthday. Depending on whose dream it was, he liked to eat out a lot, never told her how to drive, and wasn’t as scared of spiders as she was.
Sometimes there were children in the dreams, ones who behaved well and stayed clean and ate their vegetables without complaining. They did their homework and turned it in on time and never watched crummy television or listened to music that made her ears hurt. Even after she gave birth to these children (painlessly, with hair and makeup intact) she regained her figure instantly and never looked like death-warmed-over because her babies were the kind who slept through the night and whose teeth appeared miraculously straight and without pain.
Her home was a portrait of good taste and comfort. Its plumbing was never iffy, its windows never leaky, its floor never sloped with the passage of time. The furniture shone with the polish of quality and good wax. The beds were made each morning and the pillows arranged in the artful disarray that magazines make look easy. The mortgage, if there was one, was easily manageable. Robbing Peter to pay Paul was an unknown concept.
It is said that dreams die hard.
Not always. Sometimes, instead of dying, they just change—often for the better. We wear what is comfortable and affordable, we have bad hair days and…not so bad hair days, and time does leave its obvious and inexorable footprints across our skin. Most of our careers aren’t glamorous, but if we’re lucky, we still like them. They still pay the mortgage—which is probably less manageable that we’d hoped for—and keep the bank balance in the black. Not the very black, maybe, but close enough to keep the wolves from the door.
The men in our lives are different from what we dreamed, as faulty and fallible as we ourselves are. On any given day, they’ll probably have some of the characteristics of the dream guys, but chances are good they’ll never have them all at once.
Which brings us to the children of our dreams. Ahem.
If one of mine happened to be behaving well, the other two were not. They dressed okay, but were seldom clean at any time previous to their twelfth birthdays, at which time they suddenly started taking two showers a day and setting up housekeeping in front of the bathroom mirror. They did homework spasmodically and subsisted on diets that even now the memory of makes my stomach clench. They watched, read, and listened to every single thing I ever didn’t want them to.
There was no single day during their growing-up years that every bed in the house was made or every dish clean at the same time. The windows leaked, the plumbing required constant care and repair, and a few of the floors would have felt right at home under a ski lift. The surfaces of the furniture were marred by marks from compasses, baseball cleats, and the rubber soles of size 12 basketball shoes. And dust. Lots of dust. Because there would be time later to worry about those things.
I wrote this in the early 1990s, when our family of five had just started to expand. There are 16 of us now. Another generation of size 12 shoes, homework-at-their-convenience, and toilet seats always left in the wrong position. More dust.
When I was young, I had dreams. They’ve all come true. Every last one.
I hope yours have, too. Happy Mother’s Day.
Liz maintains a blog that you can visit by clicking this link: http://windowoverthesink.blogspot.com/
Get her latest Romance Novel Nice to Come Home from Amazon by clicking on this link: https://www.amazon.com/Nice-Come-Home-Liz-Flaherty-ebook/dp/B0788PDJD4/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1531141953&sr=1-2&keywords=nice+to+come+home+to
Nice to Come Home To is the third book in the Lake Minigua series, following Every Time We Say Goodbye and The Happiness Pact.