I grew up twirling. An only child until I was 15, I had an active imagination, magic was a prevalent part of my existence, and I was a dreamer. Every chore I did as a kid was transformed into a fairytale. Sweeping the front walkway? A concert in front of tens of thousands of fans…the broom serving as my microphone. Ironing? I was the maid serving a wealthy family and the wealthy daughter’s boyfriend, also wealthy AND good looking, decided to sweep me off of my feet and take me away. Setting the table? Preparing for an elaborate and fancy event. Vacuuming up and down stairs? Straight-up Cinderella. Shopping with my mom? Shopping with my two twin sisters, I would speak to them by way of the three-way mirrors in department stores, and we’d discuss the outfits on the racks around me.
I don’t remember one time in my childhood when imagination and dreaming wasn’t a big part of it. When I got older, I stopped making believe (ahem…for the most part), but I never stopped dreaming. Whether it was of the college I hoped to attend (Notre Dame…and no I did not end up going…sigh), or the careers I hoped to have (lawyer/politician/talk show host…no/no/and no), or the kind of man I’d marry (George Clooney…and no I did not), or the kind of home I’d live in (anything out of a John Hughes movie…and no…my house is nothing like them), or the riches I’d earn and live on for life (still working on this one).
And while none of these particular dreams have materialized, yet, I still fully expect many of them to come true. Okay, maybe not George Clooney, I am already married after all.
I also always knew that no matter what, no matter the problem, the challenge, the obstacle, that I would always be just fine. Always. Money a little tight this month? It will come and it will be fine (always was). Car not working properly? It will be fine. Schedules not aligning? They will. I’ve always had faith that I would figure it out, things would work themselves out, and that in the end…it would be fine. Great even.
Let me tell you about my husband. He is grounded in realism. The here and now. The money we have now. The abilities we have to do things now. The things we need to address, do, accomplish, and attempt…NOW. We’ve been together five years and we’re still trying to figure out how to relate to each other.
The dreamer and the realist.
We look at money differently. We look at “plans” differently. We look at priorities differently. And, as you can imagine, this can be fodder for disagreements and misunderstandings. But not until this past weekend did I realize just how much frustration and consternation our differences in outlook have caused my dear husband.
Not only am I a dreamer…I’m a communicator. This means that on a slow day, I could realistically send my husband 50 emails, just sharing with him the things that are fluttering about in my pretty little head. On a slow day my imagination? My dreaming? They tend to multiply exponentially. And the more I talk, or email, the more big things come to mind. So, for example, maybe I’ll start talking with him about signing our little girls up for the next session of gymnastics, soon enough I’ll be talking about getting them signed-up for ski lessons, and then skiing as a family regularly, and the next thing you know we own a time share in Keystone and we’re heading West each winter to show off our family’s mad skills on the slopes, which obviously leads to spending time with the Kennedys…on a yacht…at Martha’s Vineyard. To me? This progression in thought makes perfect sense. I mean…duh.
What was pointed out to me this past weekend is that this man that I love? He takes everything I say literally. I don’t mean some of what I say, or even most of what I say, I mean ALL OF IT. Every. Single. Word. Which means he’s wondering why the hell I think we can afford to get a time share in Keystone when we’re paying taxes AND in the middle of a bathroom remodel AND taking on new costs with a new school year beginning and on and on. Thus, every email I send him in a matter of a day, all of the dreams and ideas I’m sharing with him, they feel like reminders of what he can’t provide.
Holy hell. What?! It has taken a full two days for this to actually sink in. I’m not saying I’m full of sh-t, or that I’m not serious about the things I say, but I don’t mean right this second. I’m not saying I’m shopping real estate in Keystone right now (and who knows? We may eventually decide that Lake Tahoe makes more sense!). I’m not saying I’m booking a flight to Paris for this weekend. I’m not saying I’m writing a check for my Louis Vuitton bag even as I speak. I talk in eventualities. I talk because saying it out loud makes it so. I’m talkin’ SOMEDAY.
I started thinking about how it would feel. If I had an overwhelming desire to provide for the people I love, and one of those people was constantly in my face saying “I want this, I want that, I want this, I want that” I would feel like a complete and utter failure. AND I would feel like that person is never going to be happy with the measly things that I CAN in fact provide. THAT is how I’ve been making my husband feel without having any idea that he just didn’t get it.
Because I just didn’t get it.
I won’t stop dreaming. I won’t stop talking about our future. But it’s become clear that those conversations may need to happen with my girlfriends. Fellow dreamers. And perhaps I don’t send him emails with every single thought. He doesn’t necessarily need to know of my Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade plans, or my idea about a jaunt to Boston, or the amazing Christian Louboutin shoes I just happened to find…he doesn’t really need to know about any of that…until it’s in the realm of possibility.
TODAY: What if I recognize the differences in how my husband and I see things and communicate and I try to do better? What if instead of inundating my husband with ideas of what is surely to come in our future, I share with him how grateful I am for our present, and keep the dreams (or random thoughts about yachting with the Kennedys) to myself and my dreamer girlfriends?