Friday, February 13, 2009
What do I want to be?
My eight year old has started telling me what she wants to be when she grows up. I give her the standard girl power response- "you can be anything you want with determination and hard work." Then she turned the tables on me and asked me "Mommy, what are you going to be?". I told her that my job was to her mother and to run our house." But it started making me think that this is one goal that is never quite finished. At anytime in your life, you can ask yourself that question. The answer can vary or change but there is always an answer. Let me demonstrate for you.
My earliest memory (and I do have a fantastic memory)of being asked this question was when I was 5 years old. A family friend asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My response was "My daddy is going to buy me my own TV show." I used to dream of being on television. I did not want to be on the Brady Bunch or the Partridge Family- they had too many kids (did I mention I was an only child for a long time?). My two most coveted shows were The Bionic Woman and Charlies Angels. I would devise some plot that would make my character a weekly regular. For instance, on the Bionic Woman, I was her niece Janie (her name was Jamie). My parents had died in a car or airplane accident but there were able to save me with bionics. Since she had two bionic legs, one arm and an ear, I would have one bionic leg (don't ask me how I thought I was going to run with one regular and one bionic leg), two bionic arms and the first bionic nose. Now, do you want to know the real irony of this story? In '97 I had nose surgery for a deviated septum (yes, I had them smooth down the sides too). I can smell pot roast being cooked down the street. Doug and I say I have the bionic smelling nose! Charlie's Angels was kind of the same scenario where I was orphaned but I was either Bosley's or one of the angels niece and I ALWAYS found the clue that solved the crime. This went on until I was about 9 although sometimes it was the Love Boat, Three's Company or some other cheesy show. The only show I would have turned down was Little House on the Prarie. That time in history did not seem like a fun time to live in. Refer to my previous blog entry on why.
When I was 10 we moved to Brenham, Texas. Brenham has a German celebration of spring called the Maifest. They have a junior and a senior Maifest with each having their own king and queen. If you have never been to Maifest, you are missing out. It is like a G rated Mardi Gras. I wanted so badly to be the Maifest queen. We moved to Brenham when I was too old to be the junior queen. But I thought I might have a shot at being the senior queen. I had my theme picked out. I had my train designed. I would practice walking around the house with a crown and used a baton as my scepter. Well, we moved again the summer before I was to start high school which blew any chance of me being the Maifest queen. I have never gotten over this. My girls now participate in Maifest. They love it. But the funniest thing is that they will ask me if they will ever be the Maifest queen.
When I was 12, I asked my dad what he did. He told me he was an investment banker. I had no idea what an investment banker did but I thought it sounded really cool. So I would play investment banker. Mainly, I pretended to be on the phone and tried to find babysitters for my imaginary children.
When I got into high school, I either wanted my own clothing store or to be a news broadcaster. I went off to college and ended up majoring in communications. Like many of my fellow gen xers, I ended up in a career that had NOTHING to do with my major. It took me a while to find myself. I did retail and hated it. Went into sales but hated that too. Stumbled into supply chain and LOVED it. Whenever I was frustrated at work, I would think maybe law school was the answer. I just think I would like saying I was an attorney and yelling "OBJECTION" every now and then. I also think I was more intrigued with the image and ego that came with having a law degree than the degree itself. But in the back of my mind, my long term goal was always to be a stay at home mother and wife.
I love my career. I love the messy kisses. I love the fact that I have complete and unconditional love for my girls. I love the fact that they are the product of both Doug and me. I love that I can see characteristics of both of us and then some that are unique to themselves. I love the excitement in their little voices when they've been in school and they climb in the car and say "Hi Mommy!" And I love the fact that Doug and I provide a safe place for them to fall when the world is a scary place.
But still, I ask myself "what do I want to be?" I want to be healthy. I want to be a cancer survivor. I want to be an inspirational voice for those who need someone to cheer them along in their cancer journey. I want to be a good friend. I want to be a person that people can speak highly of and know that I would walk over hot coals for the people I love dearly. I want to be here when my girls graduate from college. I want to be here to dance at their weddings. I want a deeper spiritual relationship with God. My cancer journey has deepened it some. And I do believe I had a good foundation before I was even diagnosed. But I think this might be a good blog topic to write on at another time.
On a lighter side, Doug has told me that all he ever wanted to be in life is tall (for those of you who don't know him, he is only a couple inches taller than I am and I'm 5'5''). I just laugh and tell him that he is so much more- smart, kind, considerate, grounded and a fantastic husband, father, and provider. I'm still holding out for that TV show, but for right now when Abbey asks me "what do you want to be?" my reply is "just what I am!"