Living the Dream (I Never Dreamed)

Photo by  Milos Tonchevski

I'm one of those people who likes to have a dream. I mean, I'm a human being so of course I like to dream--don't we all? So, I guess what I'm really trying to say is that I'm particularly motivated by dreams. I know some people who are overwhelmed by their dreams and what it will take to make them happen. Luckily, I don't fall into that category. When I have a dream, I'm not intimidated. In fact, the bigger the dream, the more likely I am to make it happen. Dreams charge me up, and I love to attack them. The more unlikely they appear, the more likely I am to bring them to fruition. This is one thing that I can honestly say I love about myself. 

But today, I had this moment. Early this afternoon, I realized my cats had fleas. Awesome. Especially since there's a baby in the house. Immediately, I went on Amazon to order Advantage. I figured I'd clean the crap out of the house, then douse the cats with flea killer. I sat on this idea for a couple of hours, then realized it might not be smart to wait the two days for the Advantage to arrive. I logged back onto Amazon to see exactly when the package was scheduled to arrive, since Prime sometimes overachieves and beats its own two-day delivery schedule. That's when I saw it was due to arrive sometime between January 5 and 10. (Today is December 30, BTW.) WTF, Amazon Prime? 

So, around 3:00 on New Year's Eve Eve, I found myself in the special hell that is Costco's parking lot. I finally found a spot about five miles away, strapped Izzy onto me, and commenced beating back all of the Costco Warriors concerned only with cutting one another off so as to ensure their spot in the free sample lines. Fun. 

I secured my Frontline, grabbed some baby formula and cat food, and stared woefully at my items in checkout, comparing them to everyone else's New Year's Eve fare. I don't often feel like the 40-year-old mom that I am, but in that moment, I did. $120 later (on top of the $40 I'd already spent on flea repellent on Amazon), I was outta there. Adulting is fun.

I dropped Izzy off at my parents' house so they could watch her while I scoured the house down. I dragged all of our bedding and anything else the cats might have contaminated down to the washer and put in the first load while I set about vacuuming everything except for the walls. This was a No Joke clean. I even spent a half hour cleaning the laundry room floor. It was as I was finishing this that I realized there was water leaking out of a pipe behind the washing machine. Uh oh. Then the washer turned itself off. I opened it to find the load of laundry (all of our bed sheets) still soaked in water. Awesome.

I proceeded to do what any adult in this situation would: I called my dad. A half hour later, he was in my laundry room, flashlight in hand, chastising me for putting too big of a load in the washer. He fiddled around with the machine for a bit, we laughed at my stupidity, I happily flipped the machine back to the rinse cycle again, and my dad took off.

A couple minutes later, I realized it was too quiet. The washing machine had turned off again. A few minutes after that, I discovered that the entire laundry room floor I'd just cleaned to the point where my biceps hurt was covered in an inch of water. That's when I realized the water had come from the overflowed toilet in the adjacent bathroom. And then I looked a little closer and realized that the water was--how shall I put this delicately?--not exactly clear.

To summarize, all of the sheets and sundry goods that I'm worried are contaminated by fleas are now unwashable, sitting in my laundry room that has been flooded with sewer pipe water. I called my parents again, this time virtually in tears. A few minutes later, my mom arrived with a ton of spare towels in hand, and got down on her hands and knees, scrubbing the floor with me. (If this doesn't qualify her for Mother of the Century, I don't know what does.)

At this point, you might be asking yourself what sort of tangent has led me from a discussion of dreams to my (literally) shitty laundry room. Here it is: As I stood there, completely overwhelmed, I launched into an existential crisis of sorts. How the hell did I get here? I wondered. How did I go from writing books about rock stars, teaching yoga, and living a life I loved in Boston to being a single mother, wading through shit, right back in the hometown I fought so hard to leave? I never wanted this, and I certainly never asked for this. THIS IS NOT MY DREAM!

I had a pity party of massive proportions for myself for a few minutes there. And then ... then my mom showed me a picture she'd taken of Izzy, sitting on my dad's lap that afternoon. And I melted. That face. I realized this is why I'm right here, right now. Because, yes, my life veered off in a direction I never dreamed of. But, for all the big dreams I have brought to fruition, I never dreamed this big. I didn't know that love like this even existed. Sure, over the years, plenty of my friends talked about their kids and a love like they'd never known before but, for whatever reason, that just didn't resonate with me as something I wanted. My vision was elsewhere. 

All I have to say about that is: thank god for failed birth control.

A life without dreams is really no life at all. And I know there are plenty of dreams out there for me that I haven't even begun to dream yet. I also know that my life won't always look like it does today--at some point I will take over a bit more of the navigation than I've been able to in the past year. But, for as great as all of that is, today I understood for the first time that sometimes the best dreams are the dreams we never had. Fleas and broken sewer lines notwithstanding.