Sunday, November 22, 2009

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be....

I refuse to put a video player in my vehicle, because the most profound conversations with my children occur when the rhythm of the road lulls them into a state where they willingly share their most intimate hopes and fears and dreams.  We had such a moment last night.  At 12:30am, well past any normal bedtime, they chattered away behind me.  I expected them to fall sound asleep to the lull of the road, but not this time.  Instead, their imaginations sparked, and I enjoyed a window into their souls.

One of them asked my husband - "Daddy, how many jobs have you had?" and he began to count, listing each one in chronological order.  He arrived at the number 10, not counting his high-school efforts to have a bit of cash in his pocket.  "Wow, that's a lot of jobs, Dad" - my oldest responded.  And then the little one piped up with a list of things she wants to do, to be:  dog groomer, school counselor, pastor, police officer in the K-9 unit, mother, cashier at Target and a donut shop, soccer coach and maybe one or two others that have slipped my mind this morning.  This list does not include options - her intent in the moment was to be ALL of these things.  She has big dreams - and last night, we did our best to encourage all of them.

Did I have dreams like that at six years old?  If so, I certainly don't remember them.  And if I had somehow found the courage to articulate such a list, I suspect the reaction would have been one of narrowing options and discouragement from impossibilities rather than an encouragement to explore and embrace.  I am 38 years old.  And I am just beginning to recapture a bit of the enthusiasm of my six year old toward the possibilities my life holds.  Just beginning to see that maybe I can be a mom, and a technician, a healer, a lifelong student, a writer and more - all at the same time.  My life has been channeled by the idea that I only had enough for one thing at a time.  And that mom had to be at the top of that list.  My older daughter has internalized that thought; her response to her sister's list last night included a caveat that in order to be a mom, she might have to reconsider her other dreams.  I tried to assure them that there is room for both, for all - but they need to see that in action to believe it.  Breaking out of my assigned role has been a slow process - but a completely necessary one.

I spent my 30th birthday mired in depression because I had no idea how to fill in the blank of the title question.  As I approach 40 - my life has a different dimension, a new energy, purpose and direction of a much less singular sort - and I'm beginning to finally figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful description of childhood dreams, Renae..I am so proud to know you in this curious and stretching time in your life