And he smiled and said, "That sounds great. What made you decide to do that?"
I explained to him that I have always had this dream, since I was a little girl, of what I wanted my own family's life to look like. And the family after-dinner walk was one part of that vision.
"You're doing that too? I've been thinking just lately about the vision I used to have as a kid of my own home and family when I grew up to become a husband and a Dad, and focusing on doing everything I can do to give you and the kids the life I always dreamed about."
We looked into each other's eyes and learned, after nearly nine years of marriage, a little more about one another. About what kid Al and kid Megan painted in tempera paints and cut out of colored construction paper as we dreamed our childhood dreams. About what we hope to see when we look back at the life we're building together with our children, day by day, season by season, year by year.
The truth is, every day I let a frame or even a whole scene from my dream spool out unplayed as I concentrate on virtually everything else. In a way, I think I've kept my dream playing in the background of my mind and left the actual direction of our life to the easy inertia of just going with the flow. And there's nothing wrong with being flexible and adaptable -- that's a vital survival skill in motherhood. But the kids are suddenly almost eight and almost four. It's time to take these numbered days more seriously, be more intentional with them, and do everything I can do to make them look like my dreams. And theirs.
It's time to keep my eyes and my heart and soul focused so much, so tightly, on their utterly beautiful, funny, wide-eyed, tender, soulful young selves, and to give them that which my heart has longed for them to have since way before they were created.
Like green-grass picnics, and dress-up, and face-making and raspberry-blowing.
Like talking and laughing and telling secrets with them, just as much as they do with one another. And wheelie poppin' with Dad in the wagon.
Like "Say CHEESE, lovies!" since otherwise they won't remember the playhouse they built in that surprise afternoon shower - the one with the frog and butterfly umbrellas for rooms.
Like ball games and hotdogs and foul-ball wishes (we'll catch one next time!) and someone to piggyback them back to the car when it's over. Car-naps that end with Dad gently lifting them out of their seats and into their beds.
Long, monkey-armed hugs and unhurried kisses every morning and every night. Like daily alone time with each of them for cuddling and questions and recaps.
Like creating lasting, happy, peaceful memories. Making them feel cherished. Allowing them to know their parents well.
It won't be perfect. It hasn't been and isn't perfect. I'll have made two missteps before this post publishes in the early hours of tomorrow morning, and they'll have slightly reshaped my vision by whining over something I had planned for them to love for breakfast.
The goal, though, isn't perfection. It's simply to create a life that teaches them their amazing value through my response to them with my own life.
To show them I loved them so much that I dreamed a dream for them before they were mine.
I've linked this post, featuring some of my favorite Instagram photos from the past week, to InstaFriday at Life Rearranged.
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