We caught the tail end of a radio commercial this morning that asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My children, of course, pounced on it.
Rachael - Mom, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Nathaniel – She IS grown up, Rachael
Rachael – Well, what did you want to be when you were a kid and weren’t growed up yet?
Nathaniel – She wanted to be a mom. Right, mom?
As I’ve been unable to get a word in edgewise, I wondered if I was supposed to blindly agree that motherhood was my ultimate goal as a child. Because, it wasn’t. I didn’t play with dolls. I didn’t carry around a “baby”. I wanted to marry a prince. I wanted to write from the time I was old enough to pick up a pencil….in fact, I came home thoroughly disgusted from my first day of kindergarten, declaring that I wouldn’t be returning to that phenomenal waste of time because they hadn’t taught me how to add or to write…and after a few seasons of idolizing Susan Dey on L.A. Law, I decided that I would be a lawyer.
I was destined to be a princess lawyer that created masterpieces of literature in her spare time.
The American dream, people. It was mine for the taking.
Oh, we don’t have princes in America? Then I’ll date stringy-haired cover band musicians who fancy themselves the next Kurt Cobain.
Tuition for Harvard is HOW much? Well, let me avoid 3 semesters of community college and decide I don’t need a formal education to write.
I can have lots of beer and write moody, EMO poetry for 5 years? No excuses. It was some pitifully BAD poetry, internet.
There I was, embracing the dream.
Then I met Pete. We started popping out babies. I silenced all the dreams that whispered unfulfilled in the back of my head.
I went about my new business of nursing babies, changing diapers, packing lunchboxes, shuttling kids, making a home.
I learned that all the lawyer-ish skills of negotiation I could muster were going to be used to referee each and every day with these kids.
Then, life got derailed by my stroke.
I found that princes don’t always wear golden crowns, they sometimes wear khaki pants and support you through the hardest time of your life, loving you when you feel unlovable and making you get back up when all you want to do is lie down and give up.
Peyton’s cancer took our lives and transformed everything we knew.
And I began to write again….about my life, my children, my marriage, our dreams, our hopes, our love, our laughter….the things that matter to me.
I’m a lawyer, a judge, a doctor, an advocate, a peacemaker and an educator.
Our castle may be a bit crumbly in the turrets and our moat could use a cleaning, but I GOT my prince.
Maybe not masterpiece literature by anyone’s standards, but I finally found my writing voice again.
And the unfulfilled voices are silenced.
Me – Well, no, I didn’t always want to be a mom when I grew up, but you guys make me glad I am.
Peyton – ‘Cause if you weren’t our mom, you’d be lonely and sad!
Me – Darn right I would.