Practice dreaming.

Sal and Car
Sal and Car: Back lane dreamers.

When we were growing up there was an empty lot across the street from our Montreal neighborhood lane. We neighborhood kids reveled in the open space glory. Then the lot was sold and a proposal for a condo development followed. We could not imagine our lives without it; the lot was our tree fort headquarters, our bike course and our baseball field. We quickly rallied and decided we would raise money and buy the lot! The Kool-Aid stand became a regular fixture on the corner along with the “how much for chores” chorus; we had a plan, we had a dream!

This particular dream never came to fruition, but our dreams, they kept on coming.

In Grade 1, 2 and 3 Sally (pictured above) and I made every cake, cupcake, and dessert concoction we could in our Easy Bake oven (won in a contest, another dream). We mixed, decorated, and baked nonstop. We would become world-renowned bakers, open a small bakery, while solving mysteries on the side.

In Grade 5 we were going to make a ‘scary movie’, we spent weeks in Sally’s basement, spooky-a-fying it, building props and writing scripts. It did not matter one iota that we did not even own a camera, we had a dream, get out-of-the-way!

Sally and I grew up. We both continued dreaming.

Sally’s dreams took her west and on to becoming the chef she had dreamed of back in Grade 3.

I had dreams of going to India to work with Mother Theresa, after high school I saved money and got myself to Calcutta, India. My dreams then brought me west, to mountains and out of the city.


Last week someone (very nicely) joked about my sometimes ‘crazy’ dreams and in that moment I realized that it really doesn’t matter to me if all my dreams come true. For me, that is not the point of dreaming. Dreams are not fixed end points to be reached in a military march; they are aspirations, inspirations, and affirmations about the depths and heights of all that is possible and impossible about being alive.

Dreaming, like many aspects of being human, takes practice.

Practice to figure out that some dreams are too big, some not worth the trade-off, and some unrealistic.
Some will consume you, some belong to someone else, and some are just too small. And some…are just dreams, perfect and unattainable. We practice hockey, timetables and reading aloud, but where and when do we practice dreaming? Do we enable our children’s dreams or are we dream disablers?
Do we dream aloud and loudly, modelling for students that as adults we continue to dream or do we wear our broken dreams as warning?

Do we look into the whites of our children’s eyes and the depths of their souls and say with conviction…in here we dream, it’s safe, let’s go!


Sally, who taught me to dream bravely, fiercely and unencumbered, ended her life last summer. I continue to dream of her and for her.

Though nothing, will keep us together
We could steal time, just for one day
We can be heroes, for ever and ever
What d’you say?


Super heroes. Note the de rigueur ‘towel capes’.

One thought on “Practice dreaming.

  1. Good stuff, Carolyn. Your words and story lingered with me for some time after I read this last night. Thanks for writing. Dreams can lead us many places, even if not the full dream…

    Just thought I would add one of my favourite dream-related quotes:

    “Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you can imagine” (George Lucas)

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