Do you have cherished dreams? Is there a goal you want as much as breathing? Do you worry that because you chose to be a parent they may never come to pass?
I can relate. I raised seven children. I was busy and overwhelmed lots of the time. I had goals and dreams and there were times I felt they could come to pass. Then, just when I felt I was moving towards them, I would be called home physically or emotionally and the dream would be on hold again.
Today, I want to encourage you and give you heart, so will hold on to your dreams while you do this most important calling, raising your family. I have often said, “You can’t know until you get there.” I have gotten to a new place and in time, I believe you will get there too.
As a child and youth, I had a marvelous bucket list of things I wanted to see, do, and become in my life. Some were BIG dreams. Others were dreams that weren’t as out front, but dreams, nonetheless.
I Want to Be a Speaker!
When I was five years old, I wanted to be a speaker. I know that’s young, but I had spoken a couple of times in my church’s children’s group, and I LOVED it. I was not afraid of getting up in front of people. It was thrilling to share something that I knew to be true, even when I was five.
When I was deeply into parenting in Montana, I attended a women’s conference with my sisters in Utah, at Brigham Young University. As I sat listening to the keynote speaker, I had a thought which took me off guard. “You will speak like this someday.” I replied in my mind, “That’s never going to happen.” After all, I had seven kids, and some were struggling. I had already had to quit speaking for schools and community organizations to manage the chaos at home.
In 2009 I began sharing family connection information with parents. For the next ten years, I traveled the United States speaking and teaching. When I began, I was fifty-nine years old, and our youngest child was 19 and just leaving home.
I Want to Write and Publish a Book!
When I was eight, I discovered the Oz books. Did you know there are fourteen, full-length Oz books? While visiting my grandma and grandpa Cazier, I discovered them in the library. I spent hours sitting quietly on the library floor reading.
It was then I decided I wanted to write a book. I began that summer. I got a notebook and hand-wrote the first few pages of my own novel. My grandma Gardner was a teacher and when our family visited her home in Logan, Utah, she would throw open her ‘paper’ cupboard and we could pick anything we wanted. I always chose a fresh, clean notebook and a new pencil and would begin another story.
In 2016 I did write a book. It took six days a week, at 4 am, for six months. It was published by Cedar Fort Publishing in 2017. It wasn’t what I thought I would write. It wasn’t a novel, but it was a story about my experience parenting, what I had learned, and excellent counsel to help others avoid some of the mistakes Don and I had made. I was sixty-seven.
I Want to Make a Recording
My mother could have sung in an opera. She had an exquisite voice and even tried out for the Lawrence Welk Show. I heard her singing while she hung laundry for her family of eleven. She sang as she cooked and cleaned. I loved her voice. I knew I didn’t have a voice like my mom’s, but I wanted to sing.
I took every opportunity that came my way. I sang in front of the whole school in 7th and 8th grades. I was brave because I LOVED singing.
When my mother was 74 her voice began to change. I asked my sister to take her to a studio and have a CD made. Evette got it done. I was 54 years old, and it was then I decided that I would make a recording of my singing someday.
It was just a wish until twelve years ago when I put a picture of a CD on my wall with my face in the center. There it hung for years. At one point, in 2022, as my efforts to find a studio and a pianist began to fall apart, I felt it would NEVER happen.
My voice, like my mother’s was changing. I was out of time, but I decided to give it one more year! I so wanted to see it happen. Last year, on Dec. 31, 2023, I finished the recording and had my own channel. That felt heady. : ) I was forty days shy of my seventy-fourth birthday.
In March of 2022, I wrote an article naming many other buckets list dreams I had knowingly and unknowingly accomplished. It was delightful to realize that because I had held on to my dreams they had come to pass, more than I consciously knew. Some came to fruition in completely different ways than I had envisioned.
In the first week of January, this year, I revisited my 3-5 year goals. I felt my bucket list was done. I had some financial goals, but they weren’t true, ‘all my life’ bucket list things. I was still working on two ways of being that matter a great deal to me, but I will be working on charity and making time, my friend for the rest of my life. LOL My bucket seemed empty.
I was happy to focus on those few financial goals because they will matter in the coming years. However, I felt a tad disappointed that I didn’t have anything exciting to work for.
One evening, not long after I wrote the article about this year’s goals, I was pondering as I sat at my desk. I often pray to God while doing mundane stuff. I don’t kneel, I just begin conversing.
This was one of those times and I was thanking Him for helping me accomplish the recording, a thing in 2022 I felt couldn’t be done. I mentioned that I had done everything I had wanted to do except to continue to work on a more charitable nature and have time be my friend.
During that prayerful conversation, I had a thought and as happened at the Women’s Conference, it brought me up short. I began to laugh. Here is it. “Well, Mary you haven’t become a dancer yet. You still can’t play the piano. And didn’t you want to learn to speak Spanish? What about painting?”
I laughed because these all have been dearly-held dreams, they just never made it to the front of the list! Because of the intervening years, they had taken a back seat in my consciousness.
I Want to Play the Piano!
I took a few piano lessons while raising my children, but I never got far because one of the kids would want lessons and our income in Montana was small.
In my late sixties, I bought a keyboard so I could take piano lessons. But I was deeply into speaking, teaching, and business building at that time. I let the dream go and when we joined our home with Jodie’s, the keyboard didn’t come with us.
I Want to Dance!
I wanted to be a dancer my whole life! I still have a few books about dancers in my library that I have had since I was under ten. In my younger days, I was able to take a few ballet lessons. But with nine kids in my family, they were short-lived.
When we moved to our current home six years ago, I searched for a jazz dance teacher who took older students. I didn’t find one, so I stopped thinking about it. After all, I was caregiving three people and when would I do it anyway?
I want to Paint Beautiful Landscapes
I thought often about being a painter. I knew in my heart I could do it if I could just take lessons. At one point I took a community class, but my children kept touching the canvas and then wiping the evidence on the wall. I let it go.
In the later years of parenting, I took a short trip and sat at the side of a lake and painted the lupine. Later, while caring for my daughter who was in a car accident, I took her to a painting class and did a piece that hangs on my wall today.
I Want to Speak Spanish Fluently!
Speaking Spanish is like my recording. I have wanted to speak Spanish for decades, but I felt the time was past. To learn another language, you must be able to remember things, and my detail memory is compromised. But I know that I wouldn’t have been reminded about my love for Spanish if there wasn’t a way. It makes me smile thinking about it.
I still have those financial goals, but now I have put some long-held dreams back in the bucket. I need to put them on my vision board and then I need to ponder how they could come to pass despite age or difficulty. Just this last year I saw a dream that didn’t seem possible at my age come to pass. : )
Here is My Message
Parenting doesn’t need to end your dreams. There will be time and opportunity. Focus on your family. If small steps can be taken, take them. Practice when you can and then patiently wait. Space for you will open. It will.
I was over fifty before many of my fondest hopes came into being. Like many of you, I felt I had exchanged my dreams for a family. But as you can see it was only a story and not a true one.
And when I thought I had done all there was to do, all I had ever dreamed about, I was reminded that I still have dreams. I am still here and I can accomplish more, if I choose.
I gave parenting my all, as imperfect as it was. I took my role as a mother very seriously. I gave up opportunities. I, like you felt that most, if not all, of my dreams would never come to pass because time was moving so quickly.
I had goals that came to pass while I was mothering. But most of my bucket list dreams came to fruition after my children were grown.
Never give up on your hopes and dreams. You may not know how to bring them to pass, or when it can be done, but hold them close and trust that you will see miracles happen.