Impossible is probably my least favorite word. Actually, impossible is my least favorite concept. I don’t ever like to believe that something is impossible. But I do wonder how it is possible to be an awesome parent and a successful dream chaser.
Sunset reminds me of home. The smell of the sun and years wearing down the silvery screen door, I’ll never forget. Watching the leaves on the tree across the street from ours turn from green to pinkish orange and then to brown, this is something that is carved into my mind. Train whistles will always leave me nostalgic and the theme song to the CBS evening news will always make me feel safe. This was home; still is. Every night after work and school I’d watch my mother and father retire on the couch from their eight hour or more commitments. Even at a young age I knew that they worked hard for my brothers and I. At whatever the cost to them, they gave us home.
Is there more than one way to offer a child a home: sound, secure and safe? I’m sure there is. I just don’t know those other ways.
For a year or more after I moved out on my own with my daughter I worked two jobs. I worked at a marketing firm during the day and at a home organization retail chain a few evenings per week. In retrospect, I wonder where I found the energy; I suppose it was in knowing that it simply had to be done. I was beyond blessed to have an aunt to care for my daughter when I worked and even get her bathed and in the bed at a reasonable hour; yet, some nights after my shift, I would find my daughter awake waiting for me. Her eyes would light up when I appeared. She was my number one fan although those days I didn’t feel like much of a star. When she protested my weekend shifts, I tried to explain to her four year old brain that I worked to earn money, and money helped us to go to fun places and do fun things. I’ll never forget her reaction when I told her that we were going to Florida for vacation years later (on a dime!), she was excited, but more concerned to know whether or not I could afford it.
I stopped working two jobs when it was recommended that my daughter skip kindergarten and when she began playing soccer. So here, although I felt guilty about not spending all of my time with her, even though it was for a good cause (to keep the lights on) I suppose I managed to do something right to have a very intelligent well-rounded five year old. Despite my circumstances I always made time to dedicate to her education and experiences.
For a long time I told myself that I didn’t have time to think about real long-term dreams. When I became more confident about my abilities as a mother, I discovered that I could dedicate those same hours to my dreams or even rediscovering new dreams that I once dedicated to my part-time job. I owe it to myself. I owe it to her too, to be a living example.
My mother said something to me once that really made me consider the role I have in my daughter’s life. I have the quote taped to my desk so that I won’t forget. She said, “You are her foundation.”
Those words let me know, that no matter where I go, as long as she’s with me, she has home.