We all have childhood dreams. We imagine what we want to be when we grow up. We play at being a mom, fireman, builder, painter…
For as long as I can remember, I played house – dressing, diapering, feeding dolls, sweeping, and preparing meals.
My mother told me that when I was in Kindergarten she got a call from my teacher to come in for a little conference. Mom was perplexed. I was such a good girl, what could the teacher possibly want?
“Mrs. Daly, Elise is a delightful child. But she tends to ‘mother’ her classmates…and they don’t like that because she’s their age. Maybe you could talk to her…”
My sisters and brother referred to me as “Junior Mommy.” Believe me, it wasn’t because I was bossy or a leader; I was in fact a bit of a doormat. But I had a nurturing and instructive instinct – I wanted to help, to guide, to connect, to care for others.
My earliest dreams were filled with babies, a husband, a home complete with white picket fence, rambling roses, and a willow tree. Picture perfect! I drew many many pictures of a sturdy colonial-style home…shutters flanked every window with geraniums overflowing in boxes below. The door was a happy red that said welcome. Perfectly round boxwoods lined the front of my imaginary home.
I believed my dreams would come true…
And they did, sort of.
While I had plenty of disappointing short-lived immature romances, I met my husband-to-be, Chris, at age 21 in my childhood home.
That’s right. Growing up, I lived in a big old house in a college town. My divorced mother, rather than move while a few of her five were still in college, rented out a room or two. Chris saw the ad at the university, needed a place pronto, and moved in. I got the phone call in the Fall of my senior year of college…
“Have I got a boarder for you!” Mom exclaimed. She was right. I fell in love with Chris over Thanksgiving break and started dating him in June. Five years later, we married.
Was it everything I had dreamed of?
Well, yes, but a lot of the details were entirely different than I had imagined.
- I never thought, “Oh, I’m sure I’ll meet a man in my home.”
- Chris had a child, which wasn’t something I had even considered.
- He was a poet and teacher, not quite the aspiring businessman I pictured.
We knew as we headed toward marriage that we wanted more children. After all, this was part of my dream for as long as I could remember. We didn’t want a baby right away, but within a few years, that would be perfect!
Three years later, we discovered we were pregnant with not one, but two babies. Twins! Oh this was better than my dreams. Until, at five months pregnant, full of hope, excitement, and the reality of two kicking, wriggling babies within me, I lost my babies. My body just couldn’t carry them and they were too young to live outside my womb.
Was this what I had dreamed of? Absolutely not. (<==== Tweet This)
- Twins were never part of my imaginings.
- Losing babies was definitely not part of my plan.
Thank God, after months of grief, deep sadness, and pain, we conceived again. This time, we were expecting one baby. At three months pregnant, I had to undergo a procedure that required anesthesia and came with risks, but could ensure a full-term baby. With trepidation, we proceeded, successfully. When I was about 71/2 months pregnant, I experienced rapid weight gain, extreme swelling, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. I was put on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. Boring, but I managed.
Finally the day came…and it just happened to be Father’s Day! I delivered a beautiful, redheaded, healthy 8 lb, 13 oz, baby girl, Farrell Amarie. The delivery was perfect, with no complications and we went home within 24 hours.
When we visited the pediatrician two days later, the doctor was more than a little concerned. “Farrell’s dropped over a pound. And she’s running a bit of a fever. Come back in 24 hours and if she’s still losing, be prepared to go to the hospital.”
What??? Oh no, this was not part of that ideal mommy/baby vision I had so long ago. What was going on? How could this be? This was not supposed to happen.
I won’t go into the details, but Farrell did go into the hospital. There was never a specific diagnosis but we figured out how to nurse properly. It all worked out, just so not how I imagined!!!
When we live long enough, many of our dreams are reshaped, transformed, and reformed. (<==== Tweet This)
They just don’t turn out as we imagined. But that doesn’t mean we should give up! We’ve got to keep dreaming. We’ve got to keep imagining. We’ve got to have a vision. Because without a vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18a)
Somewhere in there, amongst the good, the bad, the dreams and nightmares, is a God who promises more than we can ask or imagine…a God who plants our dreams in our hearts and fulfills them too. Just not always as we pictured.
Shared by Elise Daly Parker