“What do you want to do?” Grant asked. He meant for myself; did I want a job, a hobby, more education? We were walking slowly back from the park, me with the hole in my jeans, him carrying our tiny boy in the baby carrier. He asked me again sitting in the oversized blue chair in the corner of the living room, again in the kitchen when we did the dishes together and I wondered about what the fall would bring. He kept asking, sometimes months apart, because I kept not knowing. How long had it been since I knew what I wanted?
“No stretch marks, that would be nice,” I’d joke decrepitating. “To sleep through the night,” with a quiet sigh about waking up to nurse the wee one. “To not wrestle with my insecurity anymore.” “To have the space to think.” “A few hours by myself, no dirty diapers or wiping baby cereal off his chin.” I honestly didn’t know what to dream for, how to dream, what my dreams were. I only knew what they had been once, before I gave up on them and moved on.
We haven’t had that conversation for a few months now. Perhaps we haven’t had the time; Grant is working twelve and fourteen hour days lately since camp is up and running. There are counselors to be trained, schedules to deconflict. And I am happy. I watch the sun creep slowly up over the pines in the morning; I walk up the road to see Pikes Peak dozing in the noon sun; the alpenglow on Raven’s Craig casts the evening in gold before the night moves in like a whisper.
I have space; time. I can breathe again. The dreams are coming back.
“I want to [be] curious. I want to notice things. I want to be creative and resilient. I want to become better and better forever at what I love; parenting, writing, spending time in the outdoors, investing in relationships. I want to follow Jesus well. I want to think original thoughts. I want to work hard, and I want to know how to stop working completely and just play. I want to keep discovering the wildness and beauty God put in me. I also want to eat dinner.”
I wrote those words this afternoon, sipping too-bitter cocoa and staring at the aspens quaking in the gusty wind. I know what I want.
I found this photograph a few hours later on Facebook, popping up in the memories that I looked at on a whim. I remember that photograph. The sun was beaming brilliant and the lilac blooms had given way to full-green waxy leaves. I settled onto the culvert rocks with no flowers to look at, determined to just put down my phone and be for a few minutes. And then this call snagged my attention; I started writing things on my little phone screen, thinking again of all the writing dreams that I had slowly given up on.
Two years ago was not much a time of dreaming. I was sliding into a hard season that would open with the uncontained joy of my wedding. But the seed of dreams was planted. Maybe it took all these two years to poke above the soil. Today feels softly significant for all the joy of this small realization. I know what I want.