A far from perfect upbringing can do that to you I think.
Loving Disney tales with their happy ever afters...craving a happy ever after for myself...
But life, well life happens doesn't it.
Now a wife and mum of five, as I sit with my children watching some of the same, and some very new Disney tales, I understand, and I get it:-
The happy ever after doesn't exist, well not this side of earth anyway.
The story always ends with girl meeting boy, being saved from her awful life and entering a grand new existence together. What we don't see is the bickering over who will do which households chores, the 2.4 kids being born leading to sleep deprivation, less time together and putting yourself last....all.the.time.
Happy ever after isn't what I want anymore.
Please don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be a negative blob right now. I love that these tales don't show the aftermath of the initial romance. I love that we get to imagine in our minds how their lives ended up being. But as we end yet another year, with only four days remaining here back in 2013, I embrace a revelation.
Entering a new year - 2014 - to be precise, can be a great thing for many people. A loud sigh goes round the world of days got through, we remember encounters, big events- whether sad or happy, reminisce on days gone by and a chance of doing things better, as we see the calendar hit January 1st.
People confidently state plans of dietary changes, more time spent with trusted friends, family rifts to be broken, dreams that will be fulfilled....it all sounds so lovely...so romantic....until...reality sets in.
Because that's the grown up revelation I've been hit with this morning. Reality!
Whilst dreams can be fulfilled, whilst relationships can be healed and strengthened, whilst amazingly fun things can and will happen in our lives, reader, can I share with you that reality will also be very much a part of your new year...and mine too.
In fact, already we, as a family are entering 2014 with no washing/drying machine (it decided it wanted to hibernate 2 days before Christmas), a back garden 6ft fence to fix as the angry winds blew it down, and a very broken car - the main family car at that too. January was going to be a cheap, sensible month for us financially, following a very blessed and extravagant Christmas time....but reality stepped in.
Instead of crying, I've kept my head high and thought this:
"Reality is our gift from God, what we do with it, is our gift back to Him."
With this in mind, yesterday, I trotted off to the local laundrette and embraced meeting random people, spending an hour and a half in their company sharing biscuits and conversations. Was it my ideal...my happy ever after...no, far from it...but it was a dose of real life-with real people, and I chose to make it count for something more than my brain wanted it too.
I look at the social media sites, and whilst I share friends and families joy at news of good things...well I see beyond it too. I know that life is very real, and hard for every single one of us -everyone has a battle to face right? And I feel encouraged. I let out a long breath and tell myself, I'm me, I'm unique, but I'm also very much like the next person.
My reality for 2014 isn't some big new years resolution, some romantic view of how life will be. I know I've grown up this last couple of years and instead I finish this year and enter the new one with a determination and expectation, that whatever happens, whatever we face as a family...or individually...that I'm going to ensure God stays at the centre of it all.
Because my reality is His gift to me, and what I do with it is my Gift to Him.
My very real prayer for each one of you who reads this post, is that you too would be able to end this year and enter a new one with a determination and expectation. That you wouldn't follow the crowd, but would instead invite God to reveal to you what your reality is going to look like, and how you will embrace it. That you would know your life is a gift-from Him, and what you do with it, stands for something....something so much bigger and better than you possibly understand-because it's your gift back to Him. My prayer is that you would be so blessed and a blessing throughout the harder times and the easier times, because the reality is, there will be both. But in both, He exists, and is already there paving the way. Stay strong reader and have a very happy new year xx