On Dreams, Children, Growing Up, and Settling Down

Re-posted from 8/22/2011

“Shall I follow a dream? Or are dreams made just for children?” –Child of the Universe by Laura Nyro

Young people have dreams. We were no exception. We wanted to be free spirits, to travel, to explore. We loved the water and dreamt of spending a summer–or a lifetime–on a boat, exploring it. We lived in a “mobile home resort,” which was really just a campground that could fit older trailer houses. We had a 12 X 60, on an RV lot, and loved it. At night, it smelled like campfires. On weekends, our neighbors hosted a bonfire for anyone to join. The first warm weekend of the year, everyone walked past us, enjoying drinks on our porch swing, and asked us about the winter.

Then I got a full-time job. We wanted to start a family. “You need a bigger house, if you’re going to have kids.” We believed it. We found a reasonably priced chalet, in a subdivision. It’s a wonderful, efficiently laid-out house. It will be an inspiration when we build our next, smaller house.

When I got pregnant, everyone shook their head and said the same thing: “It will change your life.” I smiled, because I hoped it would. I remember what my mother had said, when our friends started having kids: “Everything is more fun with children.”

We had friends who took their baby off-roading in their Jeep (it put her to sleep!). Other friends insisted on traveling with their daughter, until she became accustomed to sleeping in a hotel room. Now she cries when it is time to leave.

Nobody has backpacked with their kid, but we’re seriously considering it.

What do we want to teach our daughter? Do we want to teach her that it all stops when we have a kid? That she was the end to our fun?

Or maybe that dreams are powerful? That we love her enough to include her in our dreams?

So, Beanie comes along with us on Moonraker. She loves the waves, and she climbs around on the deck when we’re in port. When it’s dry docked, she climbs up the ladder and says, “My boat!” When she’s older, she’ll throw lines, trim the sails, and take the helm. This is her life as well. This is our gift to her.

She won’t remember the summer of 2011, and running aground. She’ll remember Moonraker, the boat on which she spent the best part of her childhood.

So, take your child on that boat. Take them on the adventures you had before they were born. And, if you feel that the house in the suburbs is not where you belong, take them away from that. Yes, people will criticize you. If you go against society, it’s inevitable. But, many will admire you. They won’t necessarily speak up, but they will be there. They will root for you in that small house, or boat, or wherever you end up. There are many life stories available, and only one is the “American dream.” Choose the story, the adventure, that is yours.

4 thoughts on “On Dreams, Children, Growing Up, and Settling Down

  1. I love it! Your home will be the inspiration when you build your smaller home. I think we always use one home to construct the next, but you are doing the opposite of what most people do and I love that. As for traveling and living life with children. I did. I took them to all the places I wanted to still go. We still joke about my taking the boys to a shop filled with extremely expensive pieces of fragile art (think $28,000 a piece for some) and walked behind my youngest touching one shoulder or the other as he drew too close to a piece I could never afford to buy. We traveled to the National parks, camped, lived on a working farm for two weeks….anything fun I wanted them to experience, and now they are doing the same with their children. My one daughter-in-law had never been anywhere when she met my son. The funniest moment was when she mentioned that if I were going to drive to AZ from PA for my youngest son’s wedding that she would come along and bring her daughter who was only a year old. I was shocked, my grand daughter hated to be in a car for more than a short trip. I asked her how she thought the baby would do in a car for 15 hours a day for 3 days, she was stunned and then asked why so long wasn’t it only a couple of hours away? We do our children a real disservice by not sharing the world with them.

    • Definitely. The real world has so much more to offer, than the electronic toys and games that people get for their kids, instead.

  2. Wow! A truly inspirational piece. We totally agree with the ideas written in this post, and particularly enjoyed the end of the piece: ignore most of society as you will have some supporters.

    We also love the sentiment that your child should not be the end of your dreams, that you should include them in them.

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