Seventeen years ago, on May 12th, 1999, my then-boyfriend followed me on a family trip to Ireland and proposed at Ross Castle in Killarney.  My cheeks were sore from smiling and I couldn’t wait to begin the next chapter of my life.  It was like a dream come true.

Since then I’ve learned that the marriage is so much more important than the wedding day, that you fall in and out of like and love on a daily basis, and that having kids challenges you to the breaking point and rewards you with epic joy.

Becoming a mother made me more aware of how my attitude and choices might steer those whose ears were listening and eyes were watching.

One day my 10-year-old son said to me, “In my opinion, you are a dreamer and dad is a realist.  But you need both, you know?” “Why is that,” I asked?  “Well because without the dreamer, the realist would never get off the ground.  And without the realist, the dreamer might go too far.”

I think he’s right.  But many of us have too much realism and not enough dream. Dreaming is the first thing to go when life gets tough.  When the focus needs to be on the bills and the meals and the list of things that must get done.

However, dreaming is also what helps raise us up to a better place.  Where we can follow our heart and make a difference.

As Harriet Tubman said, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

And Langston Hughes said, “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”

The journey I began seventeen years ago has been filled with many different dreams.  Dreams of being a mother, a writer, and an agent of change.  Dreams of becoming more of myself. Every day I try to take one more step in that direction.

What do you dream of?  How are you bringing those dreams to life?  Because as Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”