Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Remember that one dream?

You know, the one you probably had when you were little about the perfect life you were going to lead when you "grew up?"

Yeah, I had those too. In my dreams, I had a perfect house (and yes, there was a picket fence involved usually), with every piece of furniture or appliance or decoration my heart could ever desire, perfect pets (usually one cat and one dog), perfect kids (this one varied, but was usually at least four kids, two of each gender), and a husband who doted on me.

Believe it or not, my dreams didn't usually involve my own career. I think it's hard for people my age to understand (just recently 30), but I never really wanted to be that "out-of-the-house career woman." Ever. Sure, I'd make up some answer about wanting to be a veterinarian when I grew up - after being told my first interest (archaeology) was unobtainable by my grade school principal - because it seemed to be a socially acceptable answer. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I'd methodically answer "a veterinarian," and thankfully, the conversation would be over.

I even went so far as to head off to a great college, known for its veterinary school (Michigan State). I ended up getting a degree.....but not in veterinary science. Along the way, I managed to meet my future husband, get married, and help him get through medical school and residency.

Flash forward to now: I'm starting out in my thirties, and just realized (as I sit recuperating from a rough morning with the two youngest munchkins, self-medicating with a wonderful cup of french vanilla coffee) that the dream I had such a long time ago - to be a wife and mom - managed to come true. I have the house (but no picket fence - don't really need those in the desert!), the kids, the husband, and we're relatively comfortable. Med school and residency left us quite a bit in the hole, but we've got a plan for digging ourselves out, and are slowly working our way back up from that setback.

What really got me thinking about my dreams and reality was a recent outing I had with my kids yesterday. It started with what could either be one of my best - or worst - decisions as a mom.

Yes, I took ALL.THREE.KIDS to a movie. By myself.

Now, mind you, my kids are almost 7, 5, and 2 and a half. The big two have seen movies before (not with me, as I'm usually home with the baby), but this would be the first time the littlest one would venture into a movie theatre. With temperatures hitting 110 yesterday, though, I thought that a brief stint in the nice, cold air conditioning (our house isn't kept nearly as cold - refer back to the paragraph about finances....) would be a nice treat. Checking the local movie listings, I noted that the new Winnie the Pooh movie was only about an hour long. Relatively confidant that the littlest munchkin could make it through an hour-long movie, I loaded them up into the car and headed to the theatre.

They did great - the big two thoroughly enjoyed the movie (as did I), and the littlest one did pretty well, making it until the last 5 minutes of the movie before getting antsy. Not bad, I thought to myself. That was $18 well spent.

Driving home, I listened to the boys discuss the finer points of the movie. Seeing as we've never really had more than basic cable (the very basic know, the kind with about 10 local news channels and that's about it), Winnie the Pooh was a relatively new cast of characters for them. They'd seen books and toys with Winnie on them, including reading the chapter books together as bedtime stories, but I honestly don't think they'd ever seen a Winnie the Pooh movie or TV cartoon ever before.

As I listened to the boys, I realized just how much of myself I could see in one of the Hundred Acre Woods residents, and it's not one of the more cuddly, popular ones.

Yes, you've guessed it. The cartoon version of Heidi is:

Yes, friends. I am Rabbit.

In some ways, I suppose that my likeness to Rabbit can be seen as a good thing. I think my "Rabbit"-ness has directly influenced the first part of my post: I think my Rabbit characteristics have helped me get to the reality I'm living now. My childhood dream of being a wife and mom, with the house, is being achieved through the hard work and diligence that we often see in Rabbit.

.......but there's a downside.

When you think of Rabbit, what do you think of? For me, it's the garden and the house. It's his inability to relax. It's his insistence that everything be clean and orderly.

Now, those aren't bad habits....unless they completely interfere with your daily activities or your personal relationships.

This is where my "Rabbit"-ness gets me in trouble. I'm often so focused on making sure that the kitchen is cleaned that I don't see the little boy sitting at the table, who would love to have Mommy colour with him for a little while. I often can't hear the squeals of laughter...but see the mud coming in on the shoes. I'll miss the first tower that the two year old has ever built in the middle of the room......instead focusing on the turned over tub of dress up clothes that need to be cleaned up.

Do you do this too? Can you find yourself a little bit in Rabbit, like I do?

My oldest is sitting on the other side of the room, enjoying some time playing on PBS kids online (a BIG treat for him - usually the computer is not allowed. It's his reward for wonderful behaviour this morning). The littlest two are sleeping, hopefully waking up in better moods than the ones we experienced this morning.

It's quiet.

My coffee is hot.

I'm living my childhood dream.....

.....and I'm going to try to find my inner Pooh bear - you know, the one who lives in the moment and is a chronic optimist - when the noise starts again.

Rabbit can wait until after the kids are in bed.

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