"i've kept thinking about how we would lie in our beds in our Harker dorm room and talk about children and homes to come. Do you remember saying how you wanted five children, and joking about their assemblage of shoes by the back door, making it nearly impossible to leave as they searched and sorted for a matched pair?! We laughed at the idea of it and shivered with the mystery of the thought that someday you and Rick would have children, period, in those pre-marriage days. But I knew you, and knew that if you had decided on five, then the day would come that there would be five McNatt children in your household!"
anne lives in ohio and i am in georgia and we don't talk as often as we should. as often as we want. but her november note was a sweet reminder of those two dreaming girls back in harker hall. it reminded me of the days when we would lay in our beds and whisper our wishes. our dreams in the dark. our big words would float across the tiny room in late hours. and our minds would create perfect pictures of our perfect futures. storybooks. mine, always cast in a rosy glow. always glossy. of course i never once pictured skinned knees and broken ankles and sticky floors. i never imagined bickering boys in my backseat or sisters spitting fire over a pair of borrowed ("stolen") earrings. but these are also, very much, part of my Dream Come True.
it is good to be reminded of where we were. who we were. what we wanted. throughout my life, i've wanted to be a lot of things. if i list them now you might become disappointed for me...maybe even in me: pioneer girl, veterinarian, photo journalist. writer. designer. teacher. broadcaster. buyer. travel guide. cruise ship director (quite fond of julie on the love boat). you might think, "oh, how sad. she's 42 years old and on most days can be found brushing french fries from her backseat or scraping hardened rice krispies from white bowls in her kitchen." how sad. except that i am not sad. i am not disappointed. not one little bit. as a mother, i am all of those things. and more. truthfully, as anne and i lay dreaming in the quiet hours of our college dorm, i was always certain, above all else, i wanted to be a mother. perhaps my lofty dreams didn't quite include sock sorting or spanking spoons. perhaps those dreams failed to mention i would, on occasion, need a whistle or a plunger or a glass of wine. i never once conjured up the image of me locking myself into a room and counting hard and breathless and desperately to ten. i am sure i never imagined myself picking nits from my lice-infested children or checking diapers for swallowed marbles or pennies. i just didn't. who does?
those harker hall dreams of motherhood looked a little different from my reality today. there are plenty of precious moments, but somehow That Mother had more margin. more time. just more. That Mother would sit reading to her clean children book after book. she would rock (all five of them) singing song after song. no one argued or pinched or threw up. That Mother would whip up deliciously complicated dishes with the help of her wee ones in matching aprons and smooth hair. there would be wildflower meadows and hand holding and plentiful sunshine. always. tupperware lids matched and sharpened pencils were easily found. the scissors and tape never went missing. music would always play. nothing ever smelled. there was never-ending laughter, always-nutritious dinners, and readily-encouraging words. there were swept floors and clean bedding and straight A report cards. That Mother never ran out of gas or time or patience. she never lost credit cards or children or her cool. That Mother was soft and wise and always wore lipstick. and it was the perfect shade. everything was perfectly shaded. everything.
it is good to dream. i believe passionately in dreams. in dreaming. i am, however, most definitely, not That Mother. but i am This Mother and This Mother's dream has more than come true. this mother sits typing early on Mother's Day morning with five children sleeping in rooms just above. quiet. content. still. soft. this is my first Mother's Day with everyone home. all of us here. we are complete. it is a time like no other. in a few short years we'll start losing them: off to college. off to life. on to their own dreams. but for now we are here and they are nestled deeply and i am nestling deeper still.
and yes, part of of the Dream Come True includes cancer. it includes something i would never have added or wished for or dreamt up. it includes something which has shaken This Mother to her very core. it is certainly not something ever whispered over in those harker hall dreams. and it is much bigger and more messier than that pile of shoes at our backdoor.
but as hard as it has come, i will not allow it to shatter dreams or steal hope or destroy joy. as a mother, as This Mother, my desire is to dream bigger...pray harder...listen closer...linger longer. dreams are beautiful. but our hope is not in wishes...it is in The One who knows the desires of our hearts long before they are even spoken. our hope is in The One who dreams for His children things bigger and wilder and more wonderful than we could ever imagine. our hope is in The One who in a funny-named-three-chapter-book in the old testament said,
"Look and watch --- and be utterly amazed.
for I am going to do
something in your days that you would not believe,
even if you were told." (habakkuk 1:5).
for most of us our dreams look a little different than what we had planned. what we wanted. our journeys have probably been a bit rockier. our edges may be somewhat more frayed. usually our lives are not quite as glossy as originally imagined. and some of us probably have great, big pockets full of broken dream pieces. shards. we carry them close. on occasion we take them out and look them over. and we wonder. i can tell you cancer was never on my list. never a part of the dream. i am not sure why God has added it to my journey. especially now as a (somewhat) young mother. i don't know. i still have big dreams for my future. for the future of my family. for my children. i still lay awake in the small hours of night with my long list of desires and my head full of great hopes. but even now, especially now, with this cancer, God continually reminds me of my True Hope in Him. in Him Alone. and it is then i can hear His words of reassurance whispering soft into my ear..."look and watch...and be utterly amazed jody....utterly amazed."