I received a kind letter recently from one of my readers, who had commented that when she was young, she fantasized about being rich and living in a big home as I had. Her comment jogged a memory of my young self and how I had yearned to live in a tiny cabin in the woods. My fantasy included a handsome young husband too, and a little yard, where a small clutch of chickens would wander about during the day. There would be a cozy chicken coop to one side of the house, where they could sleep safely at night, while I and my dearest would snuggle together under soft covers by firelight, warm together against the gentle cold of evening. I felt sure that this young man and I would require no more company than than the birds we kept, as we would be so blissfuly happy alone, and with each other. I also knew that one day we would have children together, but my young mind could not picture this as clearly, as I was still a child myself, and unsure of what that might be like… Still, I knew that I would love to be a mother someday, and I would make sure that my children did not fear me, but love and trust in me instead, as they would their wonderful father.
The memory of this childhood fantasy has filled me with a warm affection for the little girl that was me. I wanted none of the trappings of the life I had, as they had brought me only misery. The world I lived in was too large and dark and scary- and I knew that this alternate life would be so much better- so much safer. It’s funny, but the fantasy still holds a tiny part of my heart, even as I have grown old, where the dear and true hearted young man still waits for me within that cabin, and the chickens wander outside happily- safe and well tended.
There is nothing sweeter than this wish, but of course, real life, actual life, is far more difficult and complicated and than any childhood fantasy would be. What strikes me now, is how that childhood wish manifested itself in different ways throughout my life, and has made as much misery for me as any other wish might have. Ha! Just as my girlhood dream was destined to fail, so was my ability to make the kinds of decisions along the way that might have made a more positive difference for me later on. Growing up in a loveless home with the fallout therein, bestowed on me a set of flawed and unrealistic hopes and expectations from the start. From here, I look backward with compassion on the unprepared little girl that I was, and yet, I think the life I have managed to lead has been some kind of miracle too. I am not bitter about what has not come to me. Rather, I feel it is a wonder that I navigated as well as I have, considering the poor equipment I was given so early on.
In the end, I am grateful for all the good things I have been given- the love of my kind and wonderful son, and that of my dear friends and family, and the sure knowledge that I have done my best with what I’ve had.
My thoughts today…