We dream, we yearn, we wish. We envision a life for ourselves that perfect, complete and full of all the things that make us happy. We drop to our knees, pray for strength, beg for signs, ask for the things that are just out of reach. We tell friends, family, anyone who will listen that the things that we want we are going to get for ourselves.
I had one of the most important conversations with my older daughter in the car yesterday. Big raindrops were falling on the windshield as we headed home. She told me that she missed me, that I was working a lot and that it upset her. I opened my mouth to speak, to reassure her, to make her know how much I loved her but I stopped short. This was a teaching moment for us both and one of the most important conversations we’ve ever had.
Taylor, my first born, is something special. An old soul. A person so fragile always needing my assurances but somehow so capable, resourceful, responsible. I had her when I was 20 years old. I was a lost young woman and she centered me. I have said before, Taylor is my heart and my other daughter Cate is my soul. Taylor is so deeply connected to the things that literally give me life. We grew up together.
I looked back at her. I realized the weight of the words I was about to say, “I am working a lot. But it’s for a purpose. I am so close to so many things, Taylor. This life that we have, I love it but it’s okay to keep reaching to want to get to those places you dream of. I want more and not so we can have things but so we can have freedom. Freedom to travel, freedom to spend time together. Freedom to help others find the same for themselves. But dreams don’t come for free. There is a price.”
She dropped her head slightly and I stopped the car, pulled over to the side of the street so I could look at her.
“You know the difference between really successful, really happy people and everybody else?”
“What?” she whispered.
“The willingness to do what it takes to make it real. I always want to be a person who does the things I say I am going to do and I’ll put in the work to make it real. A dream by itself is nothing. People get hung up by challenges, obstacles, things that make achieving those dreams difficult. Then they give up. They turn their backs. They QUIT. They make excuses and they settle for ordinary. It’s hard, Tay. It’s supposed to be hard. That is why it means so much when you get it. You earn it.”
She smiled, “You can do it, mom. You don’t quit.”
Validated. Inspired. Humbled. Overwhelmed.
The car fell silent for a moment I could hardly breathe. That brave, beautiful girl believes in me. I don’t think it’s possible for me to fail now. Our eyes met and we both grew… always together…just like we had since the day she was born and she was laid on my chest squirming and screaming. Our eyes met then too… and it was familiar, like we’d met before. It was the most significant moment of my life.
The rain had stopped and the sky was beginning to clear. We drove the last mile or so quietly. Pulling in into the driveway I looked back and there in the sky was a rainbow. And we both smiled.
“See the rainbow, mom?” she asked.
“I sure do, baby.” I said. “Can’t have rainbows without the rain.”