I’ve been reflecting on gratitude. It seems like we can spend years and years longing for something and then, when it finally arrives, we either don’t realize it or we are disappointed because it doesn’t look quite the way we expected it to. But the truth is that our dreams never manifest exactly as we envisioned them. There are always facets we didn’t imagine, details we didn’t ask for but that came along for the ride anyhow, a yin to the yang.

As a child of divorce, a survivor of childhood trauma, and a graduate of many many dissolved relationships, I never really thought that a family was in the cards for me. But a part of me yearned for it. I remember thinking that a loving family must feel like the safest place in the world.

Now, at midlife, and as a first time mama, I do find myself in a family. It doesn’t look like the one I imagined. My son’s father and I stumbled from non-exclusive dating into sudden partnership and parenting in a matter of months. Along the way we had to get to know ourselves, each other, and a new vision for what the rest of our lives would look like.

But in the process we became a family and over time we’ve created for ourselves and our beloved boy a home that indeed feels like the safest place in the world.

The realization of the dream doesn’t always look like we thought it would. But if we are open to seeing it for what it is, and to recognizing our own arrival in that place we once longed for, we can discover a whole new level of gratitude.

Last weekend that sweet partner of mine packed me up and sent me off to my cabin on my own so I could write, and refresh, and connect with the land where I grew up. While I was there a neighbor invited me to pick apples from her tree. I picked a huge bag full and then brought them back to the city, to my boys, and made a lovely apple tart. An offering of thanks for these two magical souls who’ve become my unexpected dream come true.

If you take a zoomed-out look at your life today, is there something you can recognize as an unexpected dream come true? Tell me about it in the comments!

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