Saturday, August 4, 2012

Being Everything.

A few weeks ago, my little Ballerina’s preschool teacher asked that we parents bring in baby photos of our kids. We were curious why, of course, but we are typical preschool parents; we don’t question random requests of this nature, we just comply.

As it turns out, the baby pictures were used for a sort of look-backward-look-forward project. The teacher taped the baby photos up on the wall next to the kids’ statements of what they want to do or be when they grow up.  Here’s Ballerina’s photo and statement:
 I wish I could tell you that this came as a surprise. Nope. I just nodded. So did one of her teachers.

Here is a list of the various things Ballerina has stated, or otherwise indicated during her brief-thus-far but very noticeable life, that she wants to do or be: 

  • Olympic swimmer (I have explained to her that it would be helpful to learn how to swim without floaties first, something we’ve been trying to get her to do for years)

  • Olympic diver (Her practice involves jumping off the couch in various ways or standing on the floor, spinning and falling down)
  • Singer
  • Chef
  • Teacher
  • Farmer
  • Storyteller
  • Archeologist
  • Dancer (Although given the choice between dance class and karate class, she chose karate class)
  • Artist
  • Jedi knight
  • Pole dancer (My response, to my husband: “Honey! We won’t have to pay for college!”)
  • Counselor
  • Soccer Goalie
I'll show you
  • Daycare provider/babysitter
  • Lawyer
  • Karate champ
  • Cheerleader (She is convinced that yelling “U-S-A! U-S-A!” at the television is helping our Olympic athletes win.)
  • Comedienne

Interestingly, even though she gravitates toward younger children like blonde dog hair to a dark suit – to the point where other daycare moms constantly tell me how sweetly Ballerina cares for their small kids, holding their hands, reading to them, generally being overbearing – the one thing that Ballerina does not want to be… is a Mom.

This surprises me. A lot. But it's the truth. Ballerina often asks me if she will be required to bear children someday. When I tell her that she can choose to have children or not to have children, it’s entirely up to her, she unerringly says, “Mommy, I don’t want to have my own children. I love kids a lot, but I don’t want to be a Mom. Is that okay?”  Of course, I tell her that it is just fine.

And you know what? It is just fine.  Sure, if this is the path she takes when she grows up, part of me will ache that I won’t get to see the amazing little people she would create and nurture. She has such a way with children already, and such a clear love for them.  But I also know that if she doesn’t want children of her own, then she shouldn’t have them to make someone else happy, even if that someone is her long-suffering Mama. She needs to live the life she envisions. 

It’s her life, after all, and she wants “to do everything.” And I couldn’t be more proud. She has this giant life in front of her. It’s still the beginning of the beginning for my Ballerina. She isn’t trying to find some niche to fill yet, some place to fit in. My bright, perceptive girl already has a sense of her true self, and I hope she clings to it fiercely. She so clearly recognizes the enormity of the world and all of its potential, and she wants to grab hold of it and make it her own. She wants to experience… everything.

That’s my girl.

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