I remember when Lylah was much littler. I was juggling work and being a mummy and something struck me one morning during my commute to work.
I heard a song that I hadn’t heard since I was 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 realising 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 was 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 an 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 daydream, they plan their wedding days, they imagine how their life is going to pan out, if they would marry, have children, be famous…
I was 30 and a relatively new mother. It was the start of a time of unknown for me. For the last couple of years since I’ve had both children, I’ve become less working mum, more stay-at-home mum, juggling a part-time job and other small business ventures. It has brought with it a time of wondering if I have fulfilled my childhood dreams, the many things I thought I was going to do and achieve. Having children is amazing in so many ways, but when you become a mother, it’s sometimes hard to see beyond it and find moments where you remember the person you were before. While you’re filled with joy as the dreams of your own little family are coming true and growing, your other dreams stop for a moment and take a back seat while you are the person your children need you to 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, entry into their thirties is a time by which 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 my children dream, and dream big.
Becoming a mother has fulfilled a part of me that I never knew existed. I knew I wanted children, but having children to share everything with has made everything just right. That doesn’t mean however that now I stop. I want my children to watch me as they grow, and learn that in life, you can achieve anything.
When I’m watching them play, explore, learn, during every moment that I watch their little hands discover something brand new and exciting, I wonder if they’ve already started dreaming? Do their dreams now consist of wanting a certain toy to play with tomorrow, that they’ll see daddy before bed or that we go swimming? Their dreams will grow, and I want them to believe that they can become whatever they want in life.
Whenever they do anything new and brilliant, I think of all of the opportunities that lie ahead for them.My children will become me; a young girl, 17 years ago, sitting in her bedroom and dreaming big dreams. And I will be there every step of the way to support them in their own.