Small Dreams

It is times like these when we have to celebrate little victories.  There is so much hurt, anger, pain and heartbreak in this world, and a potent antidote can be embracing small dreams.

For years, I have wanted to plant and grow herbs.  I have envied my gardener friends who managed to pull all sorts of amazing things from the land and I have attempted on two occasions to grow stuff.  The failures were complete and I’d accepted my black thumb sadly.  But because this dream of mine, to grow things, didn’t die, I gave in one more time to the temptation to try to see my wish come true.  I bought starter mint and basil plants a couple of weeks ago, and you guys, they are growing.  They are beautiful.  And they are small dreams come true.  Obviously this is trivial on so many levels.  But for some reason, it means so much right now that something good can grow in this world.   What little thing have you been dreaming of doing that you put off because it’s trivial?  Befriending your neighbor by bringing over cookies?  Calling up that family member who you struggle with?  Signing up for that lesson you’ve always wanted to take?  Yes, these things will not heal the world.  But what if these small movements in positive directions gained momentum?  What if living out our small dreams actually led to change?

My plants are growing out on our balcony in a new apartment we moved into a month ago.  Santiago is such a lovely, dirty, chaotic, normal city.  This spring, it has been calming and healing to me to notice the trees.  To take pictures of the blooming flowers and to stop and see if they have unique smells.  I walk around our neighborhood and find reprieve from all the things I don’t like about this city.  There are beautiful old homes and buildings with ivy and robust trees alongside them.  There are fountains and elderly people on walks and there is shade.  These are the things that are helping me appreciate my days and thank God for this life.

Small dreams are funny…sometimes it is hard to even really know what they are, because we can become so focused on our big dreams.  Life with Rayna has shown me that small dreams are sometimes critical steps towards the big ones.  After a month in pre-school, our big dream of raising a bilingual kid is starting to take shape.  It had to start with me finding a place to send her and then weathering the adjustment weeks, which were pretty rough for all of us.  My hope this last month has been only that she wouldn’t act like she’s being sent to a torture chamber every time I drop her off.  Well, guess what?  Today, there were no tears, no screams, just a little fuss about having to carry her backpack and off she went.  She’s been having great days at school and I hear her saying Spanish words as she plays.  We’re a long way from a bilingual kid, but by pursuing this dream, it feels like maybe, just maybe, someday we will get there.

Speaking of Spanish, I finally got a tutor.  That might sound so ridiculous to people who imagine my life to be full of beautiful conversations nuanced with fabulous vocabulary and perfect conjugations; please be assured, I do not live that life.  My Spanish speaking friends are patient and kind in forgiving my many errors and understanding me even when I shove in Spanglish because I don’t know the right way to say something.  But in my ten years of working on learning this beautiful language, I have always needed help to make any progress.  For the last year, I knew a tutor would help, and I dreamed about it, but I just sat on it.  I was too busy, we were too poor, we were travelling, etc.  Finally, finally, I took the plunge and the light bulbs are going off.  I feel so grateful that some basic puzzle pieces are falling into place and embarrassed by how much I still need to study.  But having a teacher checking on my progress is a great motivator for me, so I know this was the right approach to expand my language fluency and feel like I’m taking steps in the direction I want to go


So there you have it.  Dreams do come true.  I hope you can realize a few of your own this month.  Love!!!

P.S. And yes, it was also a dream of mine to let my kid swim in a public fountain, luckily it’s totally acceptable here!


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