My sophomore year in college, I signed up for a study abroad program based out of Florence, Italy, to study Art History. I didn't know anyone, had never been out of the country (Tijuana doesn't count), and, quite bitterly, left behind a high school sweetheart. Once in Italy, I met two girls that I still consider best friends, saw magnificent places with historical value, experienced (and became apart of) a different culture, and realized that I was strong enough to be alone and still feel secure and accomplished.
There are some days, however, that are difficult to keep a positive attitude throughout because of the grandiose plans I made for the future, now broken by the responsibilities of parenthood.
I never question the importance of this task, but on occasion, I feel myself mourning for the many plans I gave up for a family. The dream of obtaining a much higher education now seems nearly impossible, my ambition to study art and humanities is currently being taken over by children's literature, and my desire to travel and aid countries in need of simply surviving, is no longer an option.
But life's a funny thing. After I graduated from college and was single, I could have pursued any of these intentions, yet there was always something that stood in the way. Whether it was a lack of finances, finally being offered a solid and respectable job, or the hope to finish my Graduate Degree before tackling "the unknown," I always allowed something to come between me and those aspirations. In reality, it wasn't the "somethings" that stopped me, it was just...me.
I think it's important to remember, as a mother especially, that our past goals and memories now seem romanticized by our choice to stay home each day. When I think of my day now opposed to a day living in Italy, somehow, I don't feel the slightest emotional competition in which I'd rather be living.
Many of life's experiences are amazing, but none that compare to the moments spent with your child. In several ways, children teach us to enjoy the seemingly dull, daily (mis)happenings. I go to bed feeling fulfilled, having extreme gratitude for this chance - this beautiful boy and loving husband - I've been given.
And, of course, I lay down each night feeling more exhausted by a day of "hide-and-go-seek" than I've ever felt while traveling the world (this might be my only complaint)!