That's right, it is the end of January and I am finally blogging about the Word I chose for this year. (If you have no idea what I am talking about, you should check out my friend Aubrey's blog. She gave me the idea for The Word in 2012 and now again in 2013. And you should go back and read my Word from last year and my post to recap how it went (if you haven't already). And then you should come back and finish reading this post, and then probably check on your kids- because if you have had time to read four blog posts they have had time to surf down the staircase on their mattresses, eat three bags of Goldfish crackers washed down by a gallon of grape juice, and tied up the youngest child in the closet.)
I told you that this was the moment I was going to reveal my Word. But actually I am going to explain my word, then reveal it. Tricked you.
As a kid I wanted to grow up to be an actress. A "movie star" to be exact. I wanted to wear thick fur coats, live in Hollywood, have a dark mole on my upper lip, smoke a cigarette from a long cigarette holder, step out of limousines and sign autographs. Spoiler alert: I didn't actually become a movie star. Wah wah. In fact, I really struggled to believe that I deserved to be a movie star- or anything amazing and fantastic. I felt pretty ordinary. (I hate that word) And I felt like I was pretty much destined to do ordinary things. Sadly, I gave up on most of those big dreams pretty early on in High School. It wasn't until half way through my mission that I had a huge paradigm shift.
My mission companion and I were working hard and studying hard. We learned a lot from each other in the few short months that we served together. And of the many things we learned (besides eating "rafitoto", how to hide undercover in torrential rain storms, and the thrill of hanging out the back of a speeding taxi van through the streets of Madagascar) one thing stood out that changed my life. It happened on November 20th - I remember how wet we were from the pooring rain that night, but how big we smiled as we sat on our beds with our new realization. It was simple. But to it us it was profound. Somehow in those months working together we had discovered that there was something inside of us much bigger than we ever expected. Something that was so big it even frightened us. It was potential. The potential to become something bigger than we were, to be part of something amazing and life changing and exciting. It stretched beyond our missionary work (which actually was big, and amazing and life changing) and gave us a glimpse into the women we could become after our missions and the things we were capable of if we could just do one simple thing: dream. Not just dream- dream big. It was our motto. It was our guide and strength and our goal. It changed my mission and my life.
Anyone who has served a mission knows that pieces of it fade with time. The first thing to go is the gift of tongues and our memory of the foreign language we spoke, then we forget names of those we met, we tuck our journals and photos in a box somewhere, and we gradually slip into our old selves again.
For as frustrating as it was to become me again and lose sight of my potential it wasn't until I watched Riley playing soccer that it started to bother me. I looked at Riley and suddenly felt a need to give her every opportunity to live up to her potential. I wanted her to be able to live her dreams. Does she want to play soccer at the Olympics? Let's get her on a team. Does Blake want to be the drummer in a rock band? Let's get the boy drum lessons. Does Macie want to walk on the moon? Let's... er, uh... I have no idea what to do about that one... maybe we will focus on potty training this year. Even that can be big. I don't want to live my dreams through them (Ok, maybe I do, but we will work on that next year with my therapist) but I want them to believe something that I never did: it is OK to dream big!
The past few years of my life with Jonathan, our focus as a family has been getting him in to P.A. school. Everything has been on hold waiting for that. Even my own dreams and interests have taken a back seat (or are hanging off the back of taxi van in Madagascar praying for their dear life). I have been happy to support him and focus on him. (After all, my future financial stability depended on it.) But now in 2013 I am ready to dream again.
So, can I get a drum roll please?
What? Your kids set the kitchen on fire while you were reading this super long blog post? Can't the oldest take care of it? I am about to get to my Word! Oh, the oldest got locked in the closet this time? Fine. We'll wait. Go put out the fire and then start back up here:
In 2013 I am going to dream again. (And not the dream I had the other night where I had to choose between marrying my husband and Seth Rogan.) I am going to search out my own potential. I am going to find things that I love. (I am surprised how much of myself I have already forgotten since I have become a mom. Someone asked what kind of music I like to listen to the other day and all I could think of was Caspar Babypants and the ABC's!) I am going to do something I never thought I could. I am going to accomplish something amazing.
I am also going to watch my children, and listen to them. I am going to find out their dreams (not the ones that include giant ice cream cones or getting a puppy) and help them believe in those dreams and learn to live them.
This may seem like no big deal to a lot of you. Some people are natural at living their dreams. I have always envied one of my close high school friends who told me years ago about the desire her son had to be on T.V. and how she went to work to make that happen. She is one of those people who lives her dreams. But I am not. (Remember, I didn't even know it was acceptable, let a lone possible, until I was 24 and on my mission.) I am going to dream big. I am going to do something amazing. I don't actually know what that is yet, but I am going to start dreaming again. I am going to erase the word "ordinary" from my vocabulary and spend the year living up to my potential.
Wish me luck!
And call the fire department already before the rest of your house burns to the ground!