Another transfer from Wind Scraps, written in 2006.
Zac was in his usual spot this morning, standing in front of the giant mirror in our living room, checking himself before he left for school.
“Mom, you know what I want to do once in my life — before I grow too old and die?”
I looked up from my laptop. “What?”
“I want to get up in the morning and put on my t-shirt, and boxers, and sweatshirt … and walk out the door … and forget my pants.”
Obviously, I laughed at that. “You mean … and not realize it until you got to school?”
“But why would you want to do that?”
He grinned. “I just think that would be the funniest thing ever.”
It’s good to have life goals.
Hopefully, his will change at some point. I know mine did. When I was little, my one goal in my life was to grow up and have a Volkswagon Bug-shaped car made entirely of purple plastic coils with metallic flecks interspersed throughout the plastic. That happened to be the color of my bike seat at the time, and I happened to really like coils. In kind of a serendipitous, peanut butter-smashing-against-chocolate collision, my two favorite things merged together into an image of the most awesome car ever seen. Not only would it be made entirely of purple coils, but the glove compartment would have a steady, never-ending stock of bubble gum.
I never got the car.
But that turned out to be okay. I grew into a woman who would have felt odd driving around in purple coils. By then, I had a new goal, one which I nurtured for years. My dream was to raise my own sheep, shear their wool myself, clean it, card it, dye it, spin it, and knit a sweater out of it. I didn’t know how to knit back when this goal was birthed, but seeing as how Dave and I lived in an apartment at the time and owned nothing wool-bearing or bleat-enducing, my lack of knitting ability was the least of my obstacles. Eventually, we left the city and bought a farm. A half-dozen sheep swiftly joined us. I couldn’t wait for that first spring, when I could come at them with a pair of sheep shearers. I practiced my snipping, and read up on dying techniques. A kindly someone caught wind of my goal and gave me a beautiful spinning wheel. And then … a prowling cougar put an end to our sheep-raising. We had no hooved animals for several years, until, needing something to tackle the blackberry bushes encroaching our meadow, we switched to goats. Then — finally, when it didn’t matter anymore — I learned to knit.
I suppose I could beg Dave to run down to the auction with me and pick up a couple of sheep so I could start my goal again in earnest. But somehow, it’s not as important to me as it once was.
My goals these days are simpler. They’re “by the end of today” goals. By the end of today, I hope to have crossed a few tasks off my list. I hope to have made a nice dinner for my family. I hope to have laughed with one or two of my friends. I hope to have included God in all my conversations.
I don’t think it’s that my dreaming abilities have waned — I think I’m just more realistic. All I have is today, but it’s plenty of time to accomplish what matters.
Which includes making sure my son leaves the house with his pants.
Seventy years are given us! And some may even live to eighty. But even the best of these years are often emptiness and pain; soon they disappear, and we are gone . . . Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should. –Ps 90:10, 12 (TLB)