When I was a child, I remember playing a game called “Mother, may I?” From what I can remember, one child would be designated the “mother”/”father” while the other children would stand a ways off taking turns requesting to move forward in various ways.
“Mother, may I take 5 giant steps forward?” “Mother, may I take 3 steps forward?”
The response was usually, “Yes, you may!”
If the bratty kid ended up the mother by “eeny meeny miney moe” then the response would probably be “No. Take 5 steps back!!”
Although the kids I played with are long gone on to their various pursuits, I feel that I am playing a game of mother may I in the sense that there are some things I would like to do, but feel the need to obtain permission from the proverbial mother. Not my biological mother. She is pretty supportive of my interests.
There are things that I want to pursue that I have been pretty quiet about over the years. For some reason I have labeled myself the sensible person. Instead of indulging my creative aspirations, I seem to pigeon-hole myself to pursue the practical. In my desperation, I accepted another government desk position, knowing full well how I felt when I left the last one a little over a year ago. But the constant phone calls from outsourced debt collectors with accents from a far away land and WASPish American names like “Matt” pushed me back into my cage of familiarity.
Thankful for a job, but motivated by my daily sense of discomfort I began to research opportunities to further my education in the non-sensible areas of interest. Last Friday, after two whole days of planning, I decided at the last minute to check out a college campus 2 hours from my home. The school offers programs in my areas of interest AND have wonderful facilities and student support.
For the last 16 years or so I’ve dreamed about pursuing this interest. I’ve written it down in journals and decorated my walls with items that would remind me of it. It remains ever before me, yet deeply suppressed. Not last Friday. As the tour concluded, my guide opened one last door to an area of the department that he had yet to mention. “And here is the other department I believe you mentioned when we first began the tour…” When he announced what it was, tears came to my eyes. I turned my head away and continued to ask questions, hoping he would be distracted enough to not see my sappy sentimental display. So many years of dreaming and that was the closest I had ever been to anything remotely related to my dream.
I am not one to do anything based off of my emotions. However, after years of suppressing dreams they can no longer be ignored. Perhaps my soul wept over those baby steps, like a mother rejoices over her toddler.
Not sure, but I’m taking baby steps. Mother may I? I think I’m hearing “Yes, you may!”