Before having children, most people have an idea of how things will be. Unless you're completely clueless, you realize that there will be tough times, seemingly endless nights rocking colicky infants, a never ending surplus of moneys going out with not enough in on return, and then later... the teen years. And while the downside is there, we all hope that the good outweighs the bad, and we jump in with both feet, stumbling as we go, hair tousled, wardrobe in shambles, and often lose a shoe along with our minds.
Soon enough, that bundle is placed in our arms, weather it be by birth or choice, and they are all ours. Ours to teach, to mentor, to guide into the craziness of our world here on Earth. On many a night I sat, rocking my colicky infants, and in those brief moments of reprieve, I would dream.
I do not know if their father dreamt for them, but I imagine he did. He was big on dreaming, just not on follow through. None the less, I would sit and rock, looking at their beautiful faces, counting their freckles. I would dream of them knowing a life of security. Of making their home a safe haven. I dreamt they would know genuine love. I dreamed of the day I could fix their problems, like crooked teeth or nearsightedness, and guide them through the ones I couldn't, like broken hearts, and algebra. In my bigger dreams I would be able to get them a solid and safe used car when they turned 16, take them on trips to see the world, and help them pay for college.
And then they grew and life happened.
My dreams crashed around me. Supporting them alone meant that I could only have smaller dreams for them, food, shelter, clothes, and love. In knowing my children, you can clearly see that they have wanted for little their whole lives. In saying "no" they have learned the value of a dollar and responsibility. But still, I have always wished and dreamed for the ability to give them just that little bit more.
A few days ago, my dreams were renewed.
The boys will live the rest of their lives without their father, that I can not change. But they will no longer live without is the dreams I had for them, both small and big. When I opened my mailbox and tore open the letter containing their expected survivor benefits, I cried. It was as if that small envelope held all my lost dreams for them.
Braces for Oldest.
Youngest's extensive dental work.
A used car for each when they turn 16.
Four years of college for both of them.
The possibility of living somewhere that they could have their own rooms.
Funds for Karate, basketball, hockey, or whatever.
Lessons to scuba dive.... in Hawaii or Australia.
Learning Greek mythology in Greece.
In truth, I never really gave up these dreams. Where I have a will, there is always a way, and I would have stopped at nothing to ensure they have every opportunity they ever wanted. But knowing that I no longer have to worry about where their sneakers would come from, new winter coats, or spending a week away from home is beyond words.
Like winning the lottery.