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Didn’t We Almost Have It All?

I’m going to start this post with a story.

About a week or two after Cassidy surprised us with our Rescue Wonder Dog – Athena – she got pretty sick. She was constantly vomiting and having diarrhea – inside, outside, upside down. I even broke a nail backwards (don’t ask for a visual) trying to get the cover off the couch cushion to wash. I wish I had been more sympathetic. I was certainly sympathetic to begin with – this poor girl had been abandoned and rescued and placed in a loving foster home, then spent over 24 hours in a caravan to New England, and then was suddenly ours. And we were hers. This was before we really fell in love and became a family.

Suddenly I had a puppy, and a very sick one at that, as well as two sick kids. I was up in arms. I was worried and protective, but I had two sick kids. Cassidy came home and scooped Athena up in a towel and took her to the vet. They kept her overnight to monitor if she had swallowed something or it was an infection. Ultimately, it was an infection and she got magically better overnight. I thought about her, though. Was she alone? Scared? Crying? Thinking she had lost another family?

When she was well enough to come home, after a day or two, Cassidy went to get her. When he pulled up in the driveway and opened the car door, Scarlet burst through the front doors of the house. “ATHENA!!!!!!” They embraced, and it was like you could hear Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” playing in the background. I think that’s the moment Athena really knew she was ours.

And I knew I was hers.

That Beethoven-embracing moment was also when I realized I was doing something right. I was loving something right. I had my movie moment, right then and there in my yard. I also had a yard. Everything was smaller than I had once imagined..

…and also so much bigger. It always is, when you compare the fantasy to the blessed reality.

If you’re diving in without a life vest. If you’re jumping in without a parachute. If you’re diving and jumping into love. If you’re letting your heart hurt, in all the right and wrong ways. If you’re trying to keep it open. You’re doing it already.

If I can be surprised with and by a puppy. If I can be surprised with and by a daughter’s love for a puppy. I’m doing it already.

I don’t know whether to be embarrassed or proud, when I tell you, that the kind of magic I used to believe in? I believed in until my teen years..(sorta) I’m talking about flying and reading minds. Invincibility. Protection. Magic and magical things.

There’s no right or wrong way to tell you, that what I imagined for myself is so much bigger and smaller than what I have so far. I imagined big city lights and skyscrapers, reaching through the clouds.. Instead, I got four acres of woods and garden.

I imagined that I’d know how to do SOMETHING, in front of many SOMEONES. Sing, dance, give rousing speeches, play piano by ear, act, film, shout, sweat, cry. Instead, I prefer to be behind the scenes. And even behind the behind the scenes.

I imagined I’d be a household name, somehow, somewhere. For saving lives? Directing films? Flying? Instead, I’m no household name, but my photos hang on some people’s walls. My words are in some people’s books, and maybe someday my own.

I imagined perfect health, a million friends, perfect mental health, perfect everything. Instead, I’m just trying – sometimes harder than other times – but surrounded by the most perfectly imperfect and wonderful people I couldn’t yet imagine.

I imagined a son, shaggy-haired, on my lap, and looking past me out an airplane window. Clutching my hands and my heart. I imagined a little girl, with little and big curls, a gigantic heart, and a little red peacoat to match. Oh.. wait.

I imagined a handsome and kind husband, and a movie-esque romance. That’s as far as I got. How else can you dream up a husband/father/son/brother/wizard, who makes costumes out of thin air (and six days) and buys groceries for old ladies.

I thought by this time in life, I’d have a fluffy white dog and a quirky white cat. Instead I got a rescued Basenji/Husky red fox who’s a house elf, best friend, loyal companion. AND..I got a quirky white cat. Well, look at that! Some things you just know.

What I’m saying is that it’s unpredictable and all right and wrong in all the right and wrong ways. What I’m saying is that it’s fluid and changing. Thoughts and dreams are still being imagined, pushed through to fruition, scratching the surface..

..and being born and reborn. That’s the beauty of it.

(Pssst… this guy is now a father! More on that to come..)

I thought I’d be a photographer. I thought I’d be a writer. I never imagined blogging, but whoa – does that make sense. I’m chugging along here, trying to find ways to make those things more and more possible and true and ever-changing. Maybe I’m bigger and smaller in all the right or wrong ways. Maybe there are the things I dreamed that came to life, and just as many that didn’t. Maybe it’s all ok because I’m still here, dreaming up my life, and catching it in my hands. Sometimes misses.

Sometimes hits.

It may not be what you think it will be. It may change, and change again. That’s ok. This week’s Finish the Sentence Friday topic is “I thought that by this time in life, I’d…” and there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin: HERE.

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  1. Wow, so beautiful!!!! I so agree as a child I envisioned more for myself, but it was all materialistic really. The reality is much more beautiful, and hard, and meant to be…….xo

    1. So true. It’s because we grew up the same way – taught to believe in everything. And what we thought we wanted.. maybe was more possible than we knew. I just think we grew to know we wanted other things.

  2. I love this! So beautiful how what you got is less than you imagined, but still somehow so much more! Lovely!

  3. I thought and really really hoped by this time that I would have recovered much better from all my operations. Life goes on you know, and we try to do the best we can. You shared a very beautiful story that touched all of us, Tamara. Continue to dream up your life. You’re still very young and have many years ahead of you to see your dreams through!

    1. I hope you’re right. I have the fears of a life being cut short.
      I wish you had recovered better too. And I hope there’s still time or technology, or both.

  4. You are my sister wife for a reason. I hope we’re still married? This is amazing and I’m so so glad that you wrote it. Here’s to last minute and to thinking about what life would have been, is, and can be. <3

  5. I loved reading this Tamara. You’re so right, what we imagined (and I imagine a lot!) is sometimes the same and often very different from how it eventually turns out. No matter what though, it’s always awesome to see how life became for us.

    1. Thank you! Since I’ve always been such a dreamer, it’s just thoughts I’ve had now that I’m an adult. I wonder, “Am I disappointed I’m not a superstar?” I answer, “No. I’m relieved!”

  6. I’m not sure where I thought I’d be. I knew I’d be a wife and mom, but beyond that…..?? Beautiful post Tamara – it gave me a lot to think about.

    1. I also knew with certainty I’d be a wife or mom. It’s funny to me that Scarlet doesn’t have that certainty I had at her age. I wonder how many times that will change!

  7. I love that you said it was smaller and yet bigger than you expected. That is exactly how I feel. Everything is on a smaller scale than my childhood imaginings; but in some many other ways, it is so much more than I could have ever dreamed. This is beautiful, Tamara.

    1. It’s so interesting, isn’t it? I definitely felt that way about my marriage, but motherhood has really tipped it over the edge. It’s BIG TIME.

  8. I used to believe in magic, still do actually. I believe the universe guides us. I don’t know why, but this is one of my favorite posts you’ve written. Maybe because it resonates with me so much. I’ve missed reading you…time to get back to life!

    1. I still believe in magic too. 🙂
      Which makes sense since I still believed I’d fly until my teen years! ha! Well. Maybe it will somehow happen.
      I’m all about universe guides, though.

  9. You nailed this. I really enjoyed reading it Tamara. Yoy may not be what you thought (and neither am I), but you are in an extraordinary place!

    1. As are you! And every so often, I swear I really know it! Sadly, it’s often when something threatens to break up the peaceful, happy comforts of home.

  10. OMG I just LOVE this! I envisioned so much for myself while growing up and when I put the things I wanted to things I now have in perspective, I think I I got the better end of the deal. It’s really not the material things in life that makes us happy but the people in our lives. BTW when I saw the title of your post, I started singing Whitney Houston’s “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”. Have a great weekend!

    1. Totally named this after Whitney! And it’s been in my head for AGES.
      I love what you said about it being the people in our lives. No matter what we imagine, we can never quite get the depth and love we have for our friends, spouses, kids, etc.

  11. Lovely Tamara! I have been thinking a lot about this lately. What would my younger self think of me today and what I have accomplished. It is different than I thought, but in a good way. There is still more to each of our stories I think though, right?

    1. Less is more, and it’s like what my friend said – it’s more of the people in your life, than the riches you accumulate. The people are the true riches. And there’s no way to really imagine them in advance.

  12. Just stop being so lovely already! Just when I think I can’t adore your words and images any more, well, I do. Yes to dreaming big and small, to fantasies that become reality and reality that’s better than the fantasy. Your house is gorgeous by the way, dreamy, and dream worthy, and so are all the humans and animals inside.

    1. I was having a lovely week, I guess! And lovely attracts lovely so that means YOU’RE lovely.
      As for our house, and what’s inside of it, we try really hard. Really, really, painfully hard.
      So if you can see that? That means it’s working. Thank you.

  13. The only thing we can be certain of in life is change, and I think you’ve summed up just how different and same and worse and better it can be when we reach the point where we stop, take stock, and realise we’re living dreams we never knew we had. Gorgeous thoughts.

      1. I make time to do it each weekend, with the ten things of thankful. Goodness knows that hop (and its community) has kept me going a LOT more than I give it credit for. It developed from a place of darkness and it’s now a place of light and encouragement which I desperately need, every week. FTSF isn’t bad, either – that makes me stop and reflect (as long as the sentence starter isn’t too idiotic) 🙂

  14. You know, I never really imagined far ahead. Which is kinda cool given that these days I’m all about Being Present. The Now is what matters. It’s what I’ve got. And it’s good. Or it’s bad – and that’s okay because in a moment it can change again. Yet, I do think I have a pretty good imagination, but why I don’t apply to my Self? I guess that’s something to ponder awhile. But I think even though I love the idea of Dreams; mostly I just dreamed of one day being content. Of it all just being enough.

  15. Life is so much different than expected but also in a good way. Big or small as long as your living life that’s what is important, and you are definitely living a full life!

  16. Aww, I might have cried a little bit while reading this. So heart-warming. You’re a superwoman with a super family! Things aren’t perfect but that’s what life is all about. And yes I believed in magic until my teenage life. Somehow until now I still do.

    1. Me too!! Totally. The magic beliefs have changed, but are still there.
      See? We’re both super families! Our kids are lucky to have parents who believe in magic.

  17. I honestly don’t know what I had envisioned for myself when I was younger. I knew I wanted to get married and have kids, probably two. I’m sure I imagined l’d be living in a house and not in a smallish condo, but where we live makes sense for us (at least for now). I certainly never would have imagined I’d be making jewelry and writing and blogging…but like you said, it makes sense!

    1. We couldn’t have imagined blogging, but what’s funny is that even when I found out about it in my 20’s, I still never saw it as something for me.
      How wrong I was!

  18. Loved this!! I wish I would’ve joined you this week with this prompt, because this has been on my mind lately. I wrote a whole post about what I thought I would be and where I would be in my head on a drive the other day. The thing about writing posts in your head on drives is that they don’t always stick. 🙁
    Anyway, I’m glad you’re where your at with the right people, and becoming a household name is so many bloggers’ homes. 🙂
    One of the beauties of life: we’re always (hopefully) evolving. 😉 A work in progress. 🙂

    1. Oh no, maybe it will come back to you and be even better than before. I love when that happens.
      How odd (but not) that we were thinking about the same thing. Not surprising!

  19. Hi Tamara, what a lovely and lucky dog Athena is. It’s funny how sometimes there is a defining ‘moment’ when you feel thoughts and feelings change and often it’s not a word changing, mind blowing moment. Usually it is an everyday happening, something normal, that for some reason you see differently.

    Oh and I am well into my forties and believe in magic, with all my heart. It’s just a matter of being able to see it.

    Change is good, it allows us not to get too set in our ways and keeps life interesting…. Love your pictures.


    1. Athena is such a good egg.
      I absolutely still believe in magic, just not the same kind I did as a kid. Like I don’t think I’ll suddenly start flying, although that would be nice!
      There are all kinds of other great magical things, though.
      Thank you!

  20. So insightful. I couldn’t imagine where I would be today, but alas I’m here. I appreciate it all. The big city apartment or the suburban house, the city light backdrop or the vast open dark skies. I would never imagined where I am. I’m glad that where you are somehow connected with where I am.

  21. I admire your ability to embrace life the way you do. Sometimes I just feel like I’m too reserved, too planned. The Husband would be in a world of trouble if he surprised us all with a dog. Then again, how can you resist that face?

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