My local public library is currently featuring some pretty fantastic kid art. The theme of the project is to write about your dreams. One librarian's example was that she has a recurring dream that her teeth fall out (the internet tells me that this either means she's going to come into some money or that she's under a lot of stress). The students ran in all directions with the assignment and there were so many cute responses. Some were about dreams that they had while sleeping, others drew depictions of their dream occupation or their greatest fantasy. I snapped some shady, pixelated pictures with my phone. But I think it was worth the awkward creeper moment.
This little girl knows exactly what kind of life she wants to lead. And who wouldn't want to be such a beautiful mermaid?! I love the big, swirly bubbles.
The left photo reads: "My dream is... eating a double decker pizza." (And seriously, I want to try that. Don't you? Although I'm thinking the picture isn't quite capturing the concept. This looks more like triangulated pizza.) The other reads: "My dream is... I am in the cloud." (How deep can a 5 year old get? And that isn't some fluffy white cloud, it's a thunderhead.)
Below you'll find another couple surrealists. The left one reads: "My dream is... meeting a caveman and him leading me into a video game." And then there is a tsunami (great spelling, kid!) chasing the kid in the ocean. (This kid has some crazy dreams! Really? Time travel, turning into a videogame, natural disasters? I think maybe this is a plotline from a 90's teen movie.) And on the right: "My dream is... I will fall from the roof and fly like a bird with wings."(This kid and the cloud kid need to get together and start a writing group. There's something so beautiful, and also haunting, about this dream to fly. Not just fly, but fall off the roof first. As though the fear of falling is a necessary step in learning to soar.)
When we are children, there is no shortage of dreams. My reoccurring dream when I was small was that Garfield was trying to eat me. (Try to explain the meaning of THAT one, internet.) But I also had lots of dreams for my future. I wanted to be a cartoonist. I dreamed that I would be a famous playwright. I prayed every night before I went to bed that God would let me be in just one movie before I turned 16. I was certain that if I met Devon Sawa he would be as determined in his love for me as I was for him. These dreams were maybe not the most consequential or practical dreams, but they were so real to me. they were all consuming. I wrote about them, talked about them, prayed about them constantly.
As I grew a little older -but was still oh so young- I started to dream of being a wife a mother. Of keeping a certain kind of house. Living little moments filled with big love, like something out of the last scene of a romantic comedy. I didn't think much about my profession or of my accomplishments, but mostly fantasized about the feelings I would have: of completion, contentment and satisfaction. These seemed the rewards to be reaped from a live well lived in the building of a family.
Then, when it became harder to focus on what I didn't have (mainly the "always a bridesmaid, never a bride" complex) I intentionally tried to stop dreaming so much about about relationships. At first, my dreams were structured around my profession. I imagined myself growing a life in non-profit management and perhaps entrepreneurial efforts in social services. It seemed as I got older, my dreams became more practical. But you know, that is just so boring.
Why should dreams be practical? Dreams are dreams. They need not be bound by the trappings of reality. They are supposed to be to high to reach. I am supposed to want to be in the cloud. So here's a new dream.
I want to float on an innertube down the Mississippi river, from Lake Itasca to the Gulf, linked up with 20 of my closest friends and family members. (Heck, let's make it 50!) I want the sun not to burn our skin and for our toes not to wrinkly. There will be a bluegrass band floating on a raft behind us providing the entertainment. I dream that our meals will fall from the sky like manna, but be more like kielbasa, spinach pies, and spring rolls depending on our mood. I want the weather to be perfect, 75 and partly shady with a warm rain once every now and then. If, when we reach the ocean, we all want to do it again, I want the river to reach up, like the arm of a man, to it's beginning and plop us back down for a second ride.
It's just one dream of many that I have. One day, it might happen in some strange, roundabout ways. Or, who knows, one day I may fall from the roof and fly like a bird with wings.