Mommy’s Dreams

Life Balance

Liberty Bradford 270x200
Liberty Bradford





By Liberty Bradford

“Mom, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

My 8-year old daughter lobbed that seemingly softball question from the back seat of my mini-van as I ferried her and her little bro school one morning.  She’s been having the what-should-I-Be-when-I grow-up debate – particularly whether she should be a fashion designer or a scientist, and should she choose the latter, which type of scientist.  I keep pimping green energy; ignoring me, she’s already considered and dismissed chemical engineering, elephantology, astrophysics, and is now inclined toward the study of gorillas.  I marvel at her, as being a scientist was never on my list.

“I wanted to be an Artist.  First a painter. Then an actor, and later a playwright/director. And a screenwriter. Or just a writer in general.”

There was a slight pause.

“So… your dreams never came true?”

Thud. Quick breath! Save face, Mom.  Let her know quick - Dreams never die!

“Well, some did. I also always wanted to be a mom and that dream came true.”

The draft from the dismissive roll of her ice-blue eyes sliced across my neck.

Yeah, but I mean your real dreams. None of that happened.”

She’s right of course. I am not an Academy Award winning actress. I’ve never had a screenplay produced, or made it to the tent at the Independent Spirit Awards. And I don’t even have a blog, let alone the Pulitzer Prize in literature.  I didn’t leave a fat career of any kind when I stayed home to raise my kids to toddlerhood.  And the truth be told, as thrilled as I was to have the babies I indeed always dreamed of, I struggled when maternal sleep-deprivation took it’s toll and all I could dream about was the impossible quest for more ZZZ’s. My artistic aspirations slithered away before my foggy eyes.
I resented my husband when he dismissed my effort to write scripts during the kids’ naptime: “You had your chance. It’s their time now.” A bit harsh, yes. But I was the guilty one, letting his off-hand comment be the excuse for shelving those dreams and in doing so, so much of who I was.  Fortunately, a most important wee part of me always refused to believe that being an artist (even at heart if not for profit) is mutually exclusive from being a devoted parent. Some dreams are who we are.

Do I tell my daughter that today my biggest dream is that my kids don’t have as twisted a childhood as I did? That at her age, I often dreamed of simply being normal, not a hippie kid with a crazy name? That when I became a parent my dreams became more basic – that my children outlive me and be healthy, content human beings. That if they want to be scientists and fashion designers and rugby players and mothers or fathers, they’ll have the will to pursue all of the above and more. 

Today I’m a fulltime executive assistant, a part-time yoga instructor, and a public school advocate. I also have a surprising knack for delivering eulogies and singing Karoke. None of those were ever on my list of dreams.  But, neither were the sizable tragedies I had to survive in my early life, nor the spiritual practices I discovered in response to those rocky milestones. It is often from the unknown and unexpected that the sweetest bounty is presented to us dreamers.

I turned around just before the light changed, and with a squeeze of her knee, looked my daughter square in those baby-iced-blues. “Honey, I’ve always been a late bloomer. It ain’t over yet.”

Liberty Bradford is many things, including a grateful member of The Women's Conference team.

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  • I love how we can randomly come across things in this!

    It really is from the 'unknown and unexpected that the sweetest bounty is presented to us dreamers.' Thanks for reminding us Liberty.

    Posted by AussieMum, 24 May 2010.

  • Wow Liberty, very touching, I miss you lady. Happy belated mother's day and all the best to you and your loved ones.
    Jeff Carley

    Posted by jcarley1, 10 May 2010.

  • Hi Lib-
    Beautifully written. You are a wonderful woman-with great strength, sharing your love and kindness with all. And most of all a sensational Mother..Happy Mother's Day. KW

    Posted by Katie Whelan, 8 May 2010.

  • I second your Mom's comments, Liberty. You have definitely achieved "writer" and this IS fabulous. Your perspective will change over time, too. You just front-loaded the family part, leaving the career canvas fill in over time. Congratulations on this -- I'm looking forward to keeping up with your here.

    Posted by TrishC, 8 May 2010.

  • So poignant, Liberty! I got all verklemmt... Keep on blogging, Girlfriend - that was good!

    Posted by veralicious, 7 May 2010.

  • Liberty,
    No truer words....I hope we are going to hear more from you here.

    Posted by nicoledy, 7 May 2010.

  • Who among us could have ever dreamed just how challenging and rewarding parenthood would be? I have to believe that the essential life lessons we're learning now put us in good stead for future accomplishments.

    Posted by mrshansen, 7 May 2010.

  • Your writing brought tears to my eyes... You are so talented. Keep writing!!!

    Posted by maryrosslynch, 7 May 2010.

  • Your dreams are painted on your life's canvas. Turn slightly around and you will see it... believe it... become be you. Your children will follow your example.

    Posted by Linda Epley, 7 May 2010.

  • You are a really inspiring writer Liberty, thank you

    Posted by sarahswellness, 7 May 2010.