Driving on my way to work one morning last week, I heard a song that I hadn’t heard since I was about 13. Well, I thought I must have been about 13. The song was Alicia’s Attic, “I Am, I Feel”, and it was released in 1996, so I was exactly right, I would have just become a teenager. As it kicked in, my stomach did a flip. There I was, a 30-year old mother driving to work on a normal Tuesday morning, suddenly filled with the urge to sing at the top of my voice and pretend I was in the music video.
That song was massively overplayed in my bedroom at 13 years old. It could have been any song from this time in my life that would have brought me back to long since forgotten moments of my childhood and teenage years. It made my stomach churn with a nervous recollection of trying to discover my identity, as well as my independence. It was a time of discovering boys and developing crushes, and realizing that one day, I would be living a life as an adult, and what would that mean for me? As I continued my drive, I was overcome with such emotion that I felt my eyes filling up.
Not that I’m sad. It’s just that when I heard that song, it made me remember a time when I used to dream. I used to dream I would be a performer, moodily singing my way through an MTV music video and touring the world. That was a time when anything was a possibility. Growing up I was always lucky enough to have supportive parents, who gave me the opportunity to do or try anything I wanted, and so emerging talent in ballet meant I dreamed of becoming a ballet coach (I never had the frame to become a ballerina like Drina). Then piano lessons meant that one day I could write songs and become a star. My sister and I used to spend hours in our playroom, making up songs and entertaining mum and dad (and embarrassingly, all of their friends at every dinner party they ever had!). As you grow older, your dreams become more realistic, although the world is still your oyster. I did my exams, got good grades, went to college, all the while imagining what my life would be when I was ‘grown up’. Little girls dream all day, they day dream, they plan their wedding days, they imagine how their life is going to pan out, if they would marry, have children, be famous…
Now I’m 30, and a mother. Is my life where I thought it would be? Many of my friends are in their ‘turning 30’ moments. I smile as I see ‘lists of things to do by the time I’m 30’ posts on Facebook, and various party’s being planned. For many women, 30 is an age where they feel they ought to have proved themselves. Established their presence in the world in a positive way. We all have different goals in life, and while I always wanted to be a mummy, I also wanted to achieve great things and be known for something. My nearest and dearest remind me that I have achieved a great deal, what with my career and my family, but part of me is still that little girl, dreaming big, certain that my future holds something else beyond what I currently do. Because I believe you should never stop dreaming. And I will always make sure that Lylah dreams, and dreams big.
Becoming a mother has fulfilled a part of me that I never knew existed. I knew I wanted children, but having a daughter to share everything with has made everything just right. That doesn’t mean however that now I stop. I want Lylah to watch me as she grows, and learn that in life, you can achieve anything.
When I’m watching her play, explore, learn, during every moment that I watch her little hands discover something brand new and exciting, I wonder if she’s already started dreaming? Do her dreams now consist of wanting a certain toy to play with tomorrow, that she’ll see daddy before bed or that we go swimming? Her dreams will grow, and I want her to believe that she can become whatever she wants in life. She hums along to her classical music lullabies before bed, and I wonder whether she will be musical? She blows bubbles in the bath, and I wonder whether she will be a great swimmer one day. When she does anything new and brilliant, I think of all of the opportunities that lie ahead for her.
She will become me, 17 years ago, sitting in her bedroom and dreaming big. And I will be there every step of the way to support her.
We had a moment this week, when we were cuddling before bedtime, and she was getting sleepy in my arms, when I just stopped, and whispered to her…”Dream big little girl”.
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