Pursuing Dreams, Evan as a Mother
We are often so blinded by our dreams that we don’t even realize that our hearts deepest desires are sitting right in front of us. Every dream is attainable, it is as simple as divine timing, mindset and acceptance.
Growing up in Utah as a non-Mormon, I was firm in my mindseye that I was going to be the oldest of my friends to get married. But wouldn’t you know it, I met my would-be-husband at 5:30 am on my first day of college. We married a year later, had our first child three years after marriage and while it wasn’t planned, it was the best series of events that could have ever happened to me.
I went from being a child to a mother in a matter of years. I wouldn’t wish this upon my own daughter but I surely wouldn’t change it for myself.
Diving right into adulthood as a naive and optimistic young lady set me up for my own success, really. There wasn’t time for the world to harden me or for adult fears to distract me from my own dreams. Except motherhood can do that on its own. For the first three years of motherhood I thought it was my parental duty to put my dreams and desire aside. It was my job to be a mother and only a mother and my life would resume when my children were grown.
It was okay for awhile. I was distracted by baby dimples, first milestones and learning how to be responsible for a little living human. But as the years meshed into one another my unhappiness settled in deep. My dreams were still alive deep within me. The world still hadn’t hardened me but my visions were blurry.
Moving along in life as society says we should, we bought a beautiful house in a desirable subdivision and had our second child. The American dream, but not my dream. I couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t want any of it. I of course loved my children but I wanted more out of my life. I didn’t want to waste my own youth in the mundane. I wanted to embrace the adventurous soul inside of myself.
One midsummer day, my husband ,two children and I were driving along the scenic Gallatin River. My husband was telling me stories from his grandfather's newly published memoir. This man left his life and sailed around the world. That moment reignited the dream that was now buried deep within me. I remember telling my husband “oh babe, that is what I want to do!”. We both agreed that maybe someday when we were rich. Because certainly, only the wealthy can pursue such grand adventures.
After years of begging my husband to quit his job so we could live with nature in the outbacks or use our little savings to wander Scandinavian streets indefinitely, I finally came up with an idea that would appease his rational mind.
I remember the day like it was yesterday. My husband was traveling in Canada for work and I decided I was sick of sitting at home while he traveled. I presented him with the idea that our two children and I would travel with him. He wouldn’t have to quit his job, we could all live in a motorhome and simply adventure together in between his work commitments. I thought a year sounded reasonable, he agreed to four months.
So we did it. He agreed because he loves me and we both thought this irrational idea would cure my wanderlust. It took three months to get a hang of it all. It was ugly and hard. My husband hated it and I tried my damnedest to make it wonderful. We were often without service and I tell you, that motorhome was so small we couldn’t hide from our own emotions, let alone each others. With nowhere to hide, we were forced to face our feelings. For the first time in our lives we fell in love with ourselves. In time that love manifested into a deeper love for one another than we could have ever imagined.
As our four months came up we made our way toward home. We promised to take everything we had learned and apply it to normal life. Not two full days passed and it was clear the two didn’t mesh. We were right back to our Netflix, non communicating selves and it didn’t work.Within a months time we sold both our cars and the motorhome. We bought a truck and an Airstream trailer that better fit our family. It was smaller than the motorhome but more functional and homey. We found long term tenants to rent our house and we hit the road running.
We got lost down dirt roads, didn’t see other people for weeks at a time. My kids became each others best friends and life was more beautiful than ever before. Those four months in the motorhome helped me communicate my desires more clearly to my husband. He finally understood what I meant when I said I wanted more. I didn’t want a nicer car or fancier vacations. I wanted a meaningful life. One written by us, not one created by societal expectations. Finally, after years of marriage, we shared a vision of how we wanted to live the rest of our lives.
Once our hearts aligned, life became easy. Everything flowed and we were no longer fighting to stay above water. It turns out we didn’t need to be filthy rich to pursue our own grand adventure. In fact this new way of life cost us significantly less. All we needed was a mind shift to see that our own magnificent adventure was sitting there right before us the whole time.
This journey has taught me that my dreams are not separate from my family. We are all one unit. All of our individual dreams matter so much that we adopt them as family dreams. Pursuing my own dream of adventure did not make me any less of a mother. In fact it made me more. By chasing my dreams I invited my family into my heart. I allowed a culture to develop among us. One where we figure out how to always say yes. By following my heart I am teaching my children a lesson far beyond understanding. This life is ours and there is nothing that can hold us back.