Future Dreams

 

In the midst of a time that has felt heavier with frustration in recent days - house still for sale, life still in limbo - our home became full once again. A late night arrival on Friday quickly turned into a summertime Saturday afternoon family barbecue, during which a box of band-aids ended up next to a plate of hot dogs, jars of relish sat next to a tub of cole slaw, and what was a box of carefully decorated mini-cupcakes soon became a small pile of wadded up cupcake wrappers. The soundtrack included tears from children, the sizzle of burgers on a grill, and the crunch of blue tortilla chips. A bracelet went missing, was found again, and eight of us went for a walk around the neighborhood at dusk. Dishes were washed while a brother and a sister navigated a video game together, and in the middle of the movie selection for the night - King Kong - two Eggo waffles were the snack of choice for our eight year-old guest. Our dishwasher is filled and emptied everyday, and packages of raspberries vanish within minutes of being opened. There is movement and laughter - so much laughter - and Tilda is just about the happiest dog on earth with so much curious and adoring attention from the kids.

~

It took me a long, long while to trust that this circle was really my family - that this was a safe space to be open, to dive into love, to consider myself as someone who belongs. I grew up an only child with no cousins and an extended family that did not go beyond my grandparents, all of whom have passed away. I still, truth be told, am sometimes tempted to run away from all of this, to shield myself from the possibility that something could go wrong, leaving me more alone and broken than ever. I still usually can't quite believe this is where I landed, that things all somehow worked out for me to step into the greatest story I could possibly live - that I have a family and a home where a box of band-aids ends up next to a plate of hot dogs, creating a scene that speaks to the greatest joy of my life.

I am not going to experience joy when this house sells and we can finally begin to get settled in Santa Barbara. Relief, perhaps, but not joy. I am experiencing joy now, despite our house sitting unsold, despite feeling not quite here or there. "Settled" or not, we are exactly where we belong - with each other, in this moment, which will all too soon become dreams, the happiest dreams of all.

Z:  "Are we still pals?"

L:  "Of course we're still pals!"

Z:  "But what if we both die?"

L:  "Then we'll be pals in heaven!"

Z:  (satisfied) "OK!" 

{Conversation between eight year-old Z and my husband, his "Uncle L", and favorite person on earth.}

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide