Monday, January 12, 2015
Over the summer, the Gelato Family took a trip to Texas to visit the Grandparents. I know what you’re thinking. Texas? In the dead of July? Beautiful. But there was a pool. And there was Grandma. And there were marshmallows. (And there was also those two nights in New Orleans that Husband and I managed to sneak away… so…everyone was winning.)
But this is not important.
What was important were the massive boxes my mother pulled out and said-here. This is your stuff. What do you want to do with it? Also known as: Get this shit out of my house. You haven’t lived here for 16 years for Christ’s sake.
And so there I was, sitting in my brother’s old room, which I certainly don’t remember looking quite as adorable when he was living in it, left alone with these boxes. I flipped them open and was quickly overwhelmed with nostalgia. Letters and cards and pictures and yearbooks and journals from years passed waited eagerly to be rediscovered. I thumbed through them, paralyzed by the familiar, yet juvenile handwriting. I read letters written to me by loyal friends 20 years ago when I moved from one state to another at the age of 14. I smiled at the naivety of our thoughts. I was awed by the sheer volume of words, written in pen, on paper, put in an envelope and mailed to a recipient a thousand miles away, over and over and over again.
But what I really got lost in were the Dreams of a certain girl I knew a long time ago. Dreams written out in page after page of dusty journals. Dreams of the stage, of New York City; of a life that seemed so big, but so close. Dreams that defined me, as each yellowed letter or card from friends and family seemed to encourage the future I was so eagerly looking forward too. As if they expected it as much as I did. As though it was the only option for me.
I had to put the words down. Tears filled my eyes as I thought about that girl. It stung a little bit to think of her and those Dreams that did not come to fruition. Life happened. Choices were made. Things didn’t go that way. I wondered how it would feel to go back to that girl and try again….to do things differently. Not be so afraid to ask questions. Not be so afraid to just be myself. Take the confidence I had while on a stage or in a class and translate it to standing in a room full of strangers, asking them to like me, to pick me. What would that life have looked like? Would I have enjoyed it? Would it have been fulfilling?
Suddenly, The Children came bounding into the room, disrupting my thoughts and my letters. They were talking excitedly about Some Great Adventure they had with Grandpa. I squeezed the tears out of my eyes and focused on their small voices and big words. And amongst the letters, the discarded words, the forgotten pictures and cards, amongst the mess I had made of these memories, those dreams, I realized that my real dreams were standing right in front of me, demanding my love, my attention, my patience. Perhaps I did not know what my Dreams were until I met them. Each part of my body now made sense; my hands for tickle sessions, my legs for soccer sessions, my arms for hugging sessions, my mouth for kissing attacks on their faces, my eyes for witnessing their amazing ability on monkey bars, my ears for the sound of their voices explaining why an insect is an insect, my heart for it’s ever growing capacity for love, my lungs to breath in their sweet, sweaty smell and hope to never forget it.
I’m not suggesting that my Childhood Dreams have died; they live inside me and probably always will. Maybe one day they will come to fruition in an unexpected way. Maybe they won’t. But for right now, for this time, my Dreams are living, breathing, extensions of myself.
I didn’t know I could dream so big.