Little Girl Dreams

Little Girl Dreams

I’m driving in the car with my daughters. We’re talking about our birthdays later this year. My oldest daughter will be turning ten just months after I turn forty. Our thirty year age gap makes it easy for all three of my girls to remember my age. “Cami is nine so you’re thirty-nine.”

I wonder what I’ll be doing when I’m thirty, one of my daughters muses.

Maybe I’ll be a wife and a mommy.

How old were you when you got married, Mommy?

How old were you when you had me, Mommy?

I want to be a Mommy when I’m thirty.

Maybe I’ll be a teacher.

Maybe I’ll be an artist.

Maybe I’ll be a Mommy and an artist.

Maybe I’ll work at home like you do, Mommy.

They’re each shouting out their ideas, and I can’t really distinguish their voices.

We’ve had this conversation before, though; they each have ideas, already, about what they want to do and be when they’re grown up. At their young ages (9,6, and 4) they each have a view of what life can be. Their views are shaped by what they know, by what they’ve seen.

With that, they are limited in their view of what it means to be a grown-up woman. I have stayed home since my first daughter’s birth. I only recently began a new career.

I work from home, in the hours before they are awake and throughout the day, as well. They see me cook meals, wash dishes, fold laundry. They play in my office, coloring at a table nearby, while I write. They complain if they think I spend too much time on my computer.

They know about other moms who work, vaguely, from classmates at school. They know about other moms who stay home.  As they grow, they will learn about other women and how they live, but I will always be their first example; they will adopt who I am and what I do without trying, whether I want them to or not.

This responsibility, this knowing that they look to me as their example and model: it’s heavy. I want them to see possibilities beyond my choices.

Their ideas, I know, are destined to morph as they grow, but not much. I carried my little girl dreams to adulthood and they will, too.

A lull in our conversation. And my turn to talk:

Girls – you can be anything. You can be a mom and a wife. Maybe you’ll want to stay single. Maybe you’ll travel and work all around the world. You might work in an office, or be a doctor. Cami, I say — addressing my oldest — you could be a best-selling author when you’re thirty.

She beams. I am facing forward but I can feel the change when I speak those words. The van is aglow. I turn my head briefly and I see it — the grin stretched across her face.

The unspoken words: that’s what I want, Mom. I want to be a writer.

The moment passes, and we turn the corner toward the gym.

How long until we get there, Mom?

Are we going to be on time?

The girls move on, but I am stuck in the moment, realizing the magnitude of my little girl’s dream, the joy she has in contemplating it, the power of my encouragement in her life.

In a few short months, my oldest daughter will mark a milestone birthday, a decade of life. These next ten years will influence the direction of her life as she grows into the woman she will become. It is my privilege to walk beside her during these next years, my life and choices an example to her.

As I do, I realize this truth: who I am as a woman is a work in progress. In my life and career, I have not arrived at the place of my little girl dreams. I don’t need to, really, because my life, though different from my early imaginings, is real and rich.

I could not have pictured this home, this husband, the sweet faces of my trio of daughters, this work. Yet I there could be no better setting, cast of characters, and plot for my life.

Tell me something. Have you arrived at the place of your childhood dreams? What new dreams do you have for  you life? What choices are you making today to move toward your desired future?

Filed As:  change, dreams

About Becky Robinson

I am the owner of Weaving Influence and the leader of the Weaving Influence team. We help authors and thought leaders grow their online influence. I am also a wife and mom of three daughters, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, a good cup of coffee, and dark chocolate.

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What People Are Saying

  • I loved this! As a very young girl I always wanted to be an educator. I loved school and wanted others to get pleasure out of learning too. I fulfilled that dream as I have been an educator my entire adult life. That role changed numerous times as I went from the public schools to community education with non-profits to corporate America. (And I can’t leave out my most important educator role of Mom!) But the one thing that has never changed is my desire to educate.

    Thanks so much for this post, Becky. I don’t think of myself as much of a dreamer as I am extremely satisfied to live in the moment and to be thankful for all that I am currently experiencing. I tend to forget that I am living my dream! What’s next in that dream? I’m not really sure, but I think it’s time for me to start dreaming again!

  • Becky,

    “How long until we get there, Mom?”
    “Are we going to be on time?”

    These 2 sentences in your post struck me: Were your girls talking about your car trip or their dreams?

    The beauty of this is, as you mention, that we are all works in progress and our progress (or state of arrival) is in constant flux. It’s so important to have a vision, and as we progress towards that vision we learn and grow… we cultivate and harvest, and sow more seeds towards a potential new vision. This is all OK!

    Last Friday I reconnected with my high school basketball team mates… it’s been 21 years. One very dear friend said, “So as you can see, I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up!”

    Our society places so much importance on arriving… whereas making changes when changes are required is SO much more important and valuable. Being stuck (as we are all at one point or another) is normal, natural, and necessary. Learning how to get unstuck… is a very rich skill! I know a lot of people who stay because they arrived but are miserable.

    So I wonder how we can teach our children that having a vision is GREAT, and being able to keep learning and adapt to changes (and being willing to start over, adapt and learn) is so much more important than arriving?

    How do we do that?

    Sonia

  • This is so beautiful Becky. The picture…the story…the thoughts…the question.

    Are we there yet?

    Nope…we NEVER get THERE. Because it’s about the journey we are on, not the destination we reach. It’s about being happy with what we have RIGHT NOW!

    Here’s to being a work in progress. I am…a work in progress.

    Fantastic reminder. Thanks for sharing it with all of us Becky. You are greater than you know!

  • Oddly enough, I don’t know. And the reason I don’t know isn’t because I’m not done growing up yet but because I don’t remember any childhood dreams. I’ve never really given a whole lot of thought to what I want my future to be, in specific terms. I want to be comfortable financially and have love somehow but I’ve never thought beyond that. Most of the time, when I look into the future I just see a kind of gray curtain. I need something other than that, though, because life is getting too routine and that’s tough.

  • I’ll be 41 this year and I still haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve not grown up yet.

    Beautiful piece Becky. It’s funny how the difference in raising boys and raising girls. I have 4 boys and though one of them might follow a career path I’ve held (military, office management, etc) none of them can truly follow MY path as a mother, a woman. That is something only a daughter can follow. I find myself relating to my family much like my mother did. My brother doesn’t emulate her as I do. It is wonderful that your daughters have such a strong, beautiful influence to follow.

  • Thanks for sharing this wonderful article Becky. As the father of two daughters, I am ever mindful of the limited time that I have with them. Our eldest is a college sophomore and the youngest is a high school sophomore. I feel time slipping away. Your article reminded me of when they were younger…and the warmth of their smiles. After reading your article, I am convicted to make the most of the limited time that I have before they make their ways into the world.

    You might be interested in an article entitled “Parental Guidance Required” on the importance of parenting. William Damon is quoted in the article as saying: “Kids thrive on guidance; it helps them become autonomous, creative people. Kids like to take on challenges. That’s how they develop their strengths.”

    https://www.vision.org/visionmedia/family-relationships/parental-guidance/37419.aspx

    Thanks for another great post.

  • Love this story and will definitely be tweeting and spreading it through the universe.

    As a wife, mom, marketer and public servant, (in that order 🙂 I 100% feel that same level of weight in every move I make for my 9 year old girl and 5 year old boy.

    I am pursuing a dream that I dreamed up a few years back – I started a company last year to help revolutionize relationships on planet Earth. We are building momentum and igniting a discussion on the importance of relational wellness. This week – in fact – we as family celebrated my first client engagement. I work full-time for a major retailer but the countdown is on for my transition to my dream full-time.

    I appreciate posts like yours that encourage us to pursue the dreams we have – regardless of when they were born.

    Be well in your journey and thanks for impacting mine.

  • Thanks for a thought-provoking story. I thought I’d fulfilled all my dreams until a year ago when suddenly the idea for a book came to me and wouldn’t let go. That book (coincidentally on bringing more joy and ease into your life by .. living your dreams!)was published last September. In that moment, I realized that it was the very first dream I’d had as a young child, but I’d set it aside because I’d been told it wasn’t “practical”. It took many decades, but it has become a reality.
    By contrast, I watch my own children (now grown) and see that they are living their dreams every day of their lives. To me that shows the impact parents can have on their children’s dreams. Just knowing that someone believes in the vision you see for yourself encourages you to reach for the stars. In that one moment, Becky, your daughter’s aspirations became achievable in her heart and mind. What a powerful gift you gave her that day!

  • Wow, I found your site through Twitter.. I love this first post. I’m a “new woman” I’d say… in my early 20’s and I’m teetering between realizing my dreams and making them happen. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the wishing, hoping and wondering what it is I WILL actually make of my self, versus every day waking up and say.. girl go make something of yourself today.

    Anyways, the innocence of children (younger than me, of course) is always something I admire. I have a few posts on it…

    https://stacytasman.com/2011/02/sometimes-i-feel-like-a-mommy-blogger/
    https://stacytasman.com/2010/10/not-ready-to-make-nice/

    Among others.. enjoy!!! Glad to have found your blog and twitter!

  • Becky:

    What a beautiful post. These words truly resonate:

    “This responsibility, this knowing that they look to me as their example and model: it’s heavy. I want them to see possibilities beyond my choices.”

    I wonder all the time whether what I’m doing and how I’m doing it is the best example I can give to my daughter. Will she want to be like me, or a little bit like me, or not at all like me?

    It is indeed important to tell our children that their futures are open to them, and that they can model after anyone, or a combination of people, or no one at all.

    To your questions at the end of the post: I see the word “dream” so often in writing. It seems to be a useful term for many, and I respect that. To me, though, it connotes romanticism. I think this clarification is useful: dreaming combined with grounding is what’s likely to result in something tangible, while dreaming without grounding is just dreaming. Diyan Vimal (google him) tells us that the it’s the simple ideas that are grounded in reality are the ones that flourish.

    Quite a lot to that, I think.

    Great post. Well done!

    Susan

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