Recently, my life has been punctuated by important conversations. I had the opportunity after Thanksgiving to talk with my mom for several hours about my life, her life, and the individual dreams we are both gathering courage to pursue. After the kids were tucked into bed Friday night, we sat on my youngest son’s bed in our pajamas (he was asleep in the top bunk in his brother’s bedroom), listening to the dog’s rhythmic snoring as we unfolded the latest chapters of our lives to each other. More than just a chance to reconnect and play catch-up, the conversation allowed me a glimpse of the fragile dreams and painful uncertainties my mom has kept buried in her heart. As a mother, I’ve found that it’s all too easy to lose yourself in the act of raising a family. Amidst the daily demands of parenthood, work, and maintaining a home, a mother’s dreams are often quietly pushed into a corner closet of the soul. There they wait, sometimes for years, gathering dust until the children are self-sufficient or until the mother’s spirit cries out for a life and identity of her own. I studied my mother’s face as she spoke softly about her desire to go to college, her fear that at 65, she simply wouldn’t be good enough to achieve her goals. As she talked, I thought about her role in my life. Throughout my childhood and adulthood, her inner strength and love had inspired and supported me in times of success and failure. She was the creative one, an artist, yet she was content to remain in the background of our family. Her dreams were secondary to my father’s career, and I never heard her complain when it came time to pack the house and start all over in a new state. I thought about all of these things during our conversation Friday night, and I felt a sense of role reversal as I encouraged her to reach out for her dreams, to pick them up and wrap them around her spirit like a warm coat on a long journey. There is hope for both of us, I thought. There is still time for our dreams. I envisioned my mother in cap and gown, walking across a stage to accept her college degree – and smiled. “Promise me you will pursue this,” I told her. She smiled and promised. There is still time to take our dreams out of the closet, dust them off, and follow our bliss.