This is for all the mothers and fathers who dream about Someday.
When our three children were small and I’d clean up after baths for the thousandth time, pick wet towels off the floor, squeeze water out of yellow rubber ducks and call the kids to come back and brush their teeth, I often thought of Someday.
Someday I’d do something important.
When I read bedtime stories, the same stories I’d read so many times that I knew them by memory, my eyes glazed over, my brain froze from the repetition and my mind wandered to Someday.
Someday life wouldn’t be so routine.
When I stared at a pound of frozen ground beef, considering my two standard options of spaghetti or sloppy joes, trying to remember when we last had what, and if anyone else noticed this culinary rut, I thought of Someday.
Someday I’d be creative.
Someday we’d eat food that required table knives. Someday we’d have a meal and nobody would fall off a chair, flip a serving spoon out of a bowl of peas or knock over a glass of milk.
When I had to have another nose-to-nose about lying and honesty, the consequences of disobeying and why you don’t take a swipe at your sibling, I thought of Someday.
Then one day I had an epiphany. I wasn’t one who was going to leave a mark on the world or build an empire. But I was going to leave a mark on this family, and I already had an empire. It was right under my nose, nestled snug in bed by 8 o’clock.
The Someday I often dreamed about was being shaped by all the todays and yesterdays. Someday was in the making now.
I was doing something important. Caring and nurturing children, creating family, trying to make a home that is a sanctuary from a rough and tumble world is one of the most important things a person can do.
Creativity? We didn’t always have ground beef. Sometimes we had chicken or fish. It wasn’t the food that mattered; it was being together around the table, the conversation, the laughing, the connecting.
As for routine, no routine stays the same. But even as the routine changed fundamentals are taught—the fact that choices matter because choices become habits, and habits become a way of being and that is how character takes root.
Sometimes routine meant another lecture on respect for others’ property or dealing with a kid who acted up at the grocery, then later growing misty-eyed reading the apology letter in crooked letters left on my bedside table.
The things that matter most—knowing you’re loved and knowing how to love others, being generous, extending charity, working hard and recouping after failures and setbacks—are learned incrementally, one day at a time.
Someday is closer than you think.