September 7, 2012

Small child, big plans

I remember when I was four years old. I was so definite about how my life was going to turn out. I would tell my mom about my big plans all the time.

I was going to marry my best friend from nursery school, Tom. We were going to have two children, a boy and a girl. I even had the house picked out that we would all live in. And I was going to be a veterinarian.

None of those early life visions came to fruition. And I chuckle now when I remember how I used to tell my mom about them so earnestly.

That nursery school pal is gay. We remain close friends all these years later.

My freshman year of college I had to face the fact I suck at math and science. Really, really suck.

I didn't become a mom until I was 40. I consider myself fortunate to have one happy, healthy child.

Life doesn't always work out the way you intend. Especially when you're making those plans at four years of age.

SB may not be four yet, but she's working out her life plans and tells me all about them every day. She is going to be a paleontologist. And have four children. She plans to breastfeed. She also says the doctor will give her medicine so childbirth doesn't hurt.

(I have never told her childbirth hurts, so I was fascinated by this comment. It led to a big conversation I had with her about women and choices regarding their bodies I will share at another time.)

She says she will miss me because when she is a grown up, she will live somewhere else. She doesn't know where. It will depend on where she can find dinosaur bones.

No mention of who she is going to marry at this point. Though she has told hubby, "You're not the only boy I kiss." Relax. She was referring to a friend of ours, the father of one of her friends. She gave him a kiss goodbye the other night as we left their house.

I know SB's current vision of her life has very little chance of ever becoming reality. But I don't tell her that. Nor do I discourage her from thinking and talking about it. I ask questions and encourage her to think deeper about what she wants to do with her life. To explore all the possibilities.

Because they are endless. And without plans, there is no motivation. Without dreams, no courage. Without passion, no conviction. I love that my child is thinking about her future, and recognizes it is hers to create.

And I look forward to seeing how her big plans evolve.
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