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Living the Dream

By Justine Dorton

At a lunch with several women, one of them shared this.

“I went the the Singles Ward (where her husband is a Bishop), and the girls were talking about their dreams and hopes for the future. They were expressing hopes for love, marriage, kids, some wanted to stay home, others wanted to keep working. but all of them wanted a family.”

She then paused.

“And I realized, I AM LIVING THE DREAM!” I’m doing what I hoped to do. I got married, I got kids. I got my family!”

But, but,

it’s so messy! And loud! And I live in the car for three hours day! And the smells, and fights, and chaos!

Some days I feel so overwhelmed at it all. I don’t always feel like this is what I signed up for! How did I get here? Is this even where I want to be?!

Kids were hard when they were all tiny, but back then all I had to do was keep them alive. Now, they’re all huge and I’ve got to somehow help them become capable and strong adults. I don’t remember signing up for that part.

But I’m trying to remember a day 25 years ago, in a singles ward at BYU, where I’m sure I sat in a Relief Society Class and hoped for love, marriage, kids.

I am living the dream. And it’s a hot mess. But I still love it (at a solid 80%).

About Justine Dorton

Justine is a mother to five children, and has a husband lodged somewhere (probably in the den). She is not very fond of speaking of herself in third person.

10 thoughts on “Living the Dream”

  1. As a single I always wished the bishopric's wives could/would spend more time in our ward. I always also hoped the other wards would include us more. Being in a YSA ward denied us so much of the wisdom and experience which exists in more diverse wards.

  2. I'm on the final stretch of a 40 year active parenting stint and I can't wait to wake up from the dream. It's a wild ride, for sure, and has lots of great moments, but at this point, I am (cynically? regretfully?) wondering if I signed up for the "right" dream. There's a whole lot of "what if?" at this transition, and I suspect that's true no matter what dream we've been living all these years.

    Lily, that is a poignant question. I am sorry you are hurting and I have no answers. Maybe we make our own dream, created out of the circumstances we're given.

  3. I remember the day I realized I had everything I'd ever hoped for. It was pretty sobering. Afterward I thought that I needed some new goals to work on and hope for. Still trying to figure those out. I wonder if I ought to hurry and decide as we are now empty nesters.
    To Lily–Don't ever give up preparing for your eternal hopes and dreams. Have some intermediate , shorter term goals, hope and dreams to get you through. And look to others, like Sheri Dew, who stay faithful and true to covenants in spite of detours on the road to their eternal goals.

  4. I don't think I had an adequate picture of "the dream". I never dreamed of being a single mom to 3 kids because my husband left me. I never dreamed of having toddlers and teenagers at the same time. I never dreamed any of my kids would grow up and have a narcissistic abusive personality like my dad did.

  5. Thank you for this. It's good for me to remember this. I am one of the lucky ones. I got my dream!! But, like you said, it's not all rainbows and butterflies, it's loud and chaotic and it's full of hard work every. single. day. Lately, at the end of the day, I've turned to my husband and said, "This is the hardest thing I've ever done. And there's not even anything "bad" going on! Our kids are healthy, our finances are fine, we're so fortunate in a lot of ways but dang, life in general is just WORK!" And, I think that's what it's come down to realizing for me. "Living the dream" does not mean a life without hard work. And, it doesn't make me a bad person if I don't love it all of the time. But, I could stand to be grateful more often 🙂

  6. My mom once said she had everything she ever wanted. No lie, she died within a week of saying that. I'm certainly not living what I dreamed as a kid. But things are still good.

  7. 80%, I love it and hear you.

    I had no idea how much I would love my children and husband and how hard it would be to do that some days.

    I have a lot of other dreams too, but it's pretty awesome to live this very real struggle and joy.


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