Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Box Just For Wishes Or Dreams That Will Never Come True

Life is a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you can spend it only once.
Frances Bacon

Remember that old Jim Croce song. It's been playing in my head lately. If I had a box just for wishes and dreams that would never come true, what would it be filled with?

My mother would tell me, when I said "I wish" if wishes were horses then beggars would ride. Maybe that's how I ended up with so many horses, that's where my wishes went.

My mother. I have wondered about people who have close, loving relationships with their mother. It's a totally foreign concept to me.  My poor mother who never felt she was able to get past the shantys of Ireland, the Ireland of the time of her parents. The harsh, unforgiving, starving Ireland.

Mother was a teenage bride to an older, dominate man from a family that looked down on her heritage and her religion. My father took her religion from her, but no one was ever able to take her sense of inferiority from her. Marrying into a family that constantly pointed it out surely did not help.

So she took refuge in a smoldering rage. She hid her emotions away and only displayed a no nonsense front. No dreams, no wishes. This is what you are and this is what you'll stay. Her shield of survival. She was never as tough as she portrayed herself to be, but as a child you don't know that. You only know what you see and experience.

Like her mother before her, she was a much better grandmother then mother. My mother opened up some for my son and I am grateful for this. For her sake.

I was going to write some little piece about wishes and instead I came to the topic of my mother. I don't know how that happened, but I think I'll let it stay. I know my mother has a trunk full of wishes and dreams that will never come true. I'm sad for her. I let the lingering anger go long ago and now I wish she could have a wish and a dream come true. But the old, dominant man she pledged her troth to is still controlling her destiny and old habits will not be broken.


  1. I had a dicey relationship with both my parents until fairly recently & worked really hard to have a very different relationship with my girls. I didn't have sisters so the friendship of my daughters has been a revelation & I treasure it.

  2. I always like it when I do that...sit down to write one post on my blog and a totally different story unfolds....that is always the right story for that time. It is cathartic and a way to mend.

  3. I find it sad that we as humans can let other people control us down a path we don’t wish to take. Even when we don’t feel like it, we are still in control of our own destiny. Most wishes can come true if you follow your dreams and your heart.

  4. Perhaps that is evolution, doing better than the prior generation. I had no sisters and no daughters, but I tried to be a good parent to my son. I was not always successful.

    This is the first time for me that something took a completely different turn. I'm sort of a free flowing thinker, so an germ of a thought can take off on its own, but I wasn't remotely going here. It was that quote she always said that moved me in that direction.

    I used to feel that my mother made her own life and it certainly has some truth to it. But as I have gotten to be an older person I realize that the idea of free will & choice are not as cut & dry I as thought. Many things combine to create a life. It's no less sad, but it is sometimes inevitable when one looks at a total picture. People are frail and scared and in need sometimes. And where they turn is not always where they should be, but it's where they end up. Once there, it is not easy to change habits, patterns. Even when no one is happy. It's very sad and something to be avoided if you have the ability and the will to do so. Sixty years ago it wasn't so easy. Probably still isn't. Sometimes.

  5. well there it is, what was meant to come out all along - maybe this really is one of your wishes.... about your mum

  6. How poignant and sad at the same time. Sometimes I think that how they were raised and the trials and tribulations they felt through their life are not necessarily what they wished for themselves. It was molded by the people around them and their wishes were repressed in some way, shape or form...just as your mothers were. As children, we learn from this and either change our own paths as adults when recognizing it or begin to take the same path. I'm glad that you have come to understand the feelings and chose a different path and wish for your mom what she did not allow for herself. In this, you have allowed your son to choose his own path and the next generation can adapt from you.

  7. Jules, maybe so.

    Alicia, we are of an age that we know what it used to be like. I'm very glad younger women don't know, it's what we wanted for them.

  8. I was saddened for everyone in your post today - but then I had a bit of a revelation myself. Must be the coffee.
    Anyway - let me play devil's advocat here - simply as an outsider looking in...
    Could it be that your mother is actually happy in her life? It is the life she chose, and stuck with, for all these years.
    Just because it isn't the life that YOU would wish for yourself (or her) - maybe it's exactly what she wishes. Am I rambling or making any sense in what I am trying to say?


I really appreciate the concept and sentiment behind awards, but I cannot participate in them anymore. I have too may and I have not got the time to devote to participating properly. To all who have honored me, I am grateful but I don't have seven more things to tell anyone about myself! And I'm a terrible passer-oner.