I would guess that very few of us actually grow up to be what we said we were going to be when we were just four years old.
I haven’t seen any pre-k papers from when I was younger, or heard my Mom tell any stories of that time I said I wanted to be a corporate trainer…and if I had, that would have been equal parts weird and lame, and I’m sure I would have remembered it.
No, if I recall correctly, I might have wanted to be a nurse…which would have worked out perfectly had nursing not had to do with working with sick people (mad love to all you nurses).
I’m also pretty sure that I wanted to be She-Ra, Princess of Power, but thankfully that didn’t work out either because I can’t imagine wearing that uniform day in and day out.
I do remember my parents humoring me for the most part as far as my career aspirations, except when I was a little older, maybe 11 or 12 years old, and I said I wanted to be a marine biologist. They strongly discouraged me from this career choice, just because I went through a phase when I wouldn’t want to actually put any part of my body in the Lewes Bay, but rather float around on a raft asking family members to guide me to the safety of an above water sand bar at low tide.
In my defense the bay is a nursery for all kinds of sharks AND at the time of this particular vacation, it was also full of colorful, stinging jellyfish. Anyways, I meant I wanted to be a marine biologist at Sea World, not one that would be neck deep in the bay waters.
I still like to give my parents a hard time about this, because as we all know, as parents we must always nurture our children’s dreams!
Okay, maybe not always – a marine biologist that doesn’t get in the water is probably a stretch, and so was my daughter’s most recent dream job.
One day she asked me, “Mom, what will be my job when I grow up?”
“Well, you can be anything you want to be,” I confidently replied.
She scrunched her face, the wheels in her mind visibly turning, and after a few moments she said, “I don’t know what I could do, and I want to know! Won’t you tell me please? Please?!”
I tossed around a few suggestions like a doctor or a dancer, an artist or an anthropologist, a singer or a chef, maybe a police officer or politician.
She didn’t like any of my ideas.
But after a few minutes, she was onto the next thing, career choices the furthest thing from her mind as she assembled Legos just to smash the block tower as soon as she finished stacking it.
Maybe a job in demolition?
No, too obvious.
A few days later, while I was sorting through laundry, she walked in and loudly announced, “I know what I am going to be when I grow up!”
“Oh yeah, what’s that?” I curiously responded.
“When I am Firty (thirty) – two years old I am going to grow up to be……a……..” she dragged on watching my over the top anticipation building there in the laundry room. “Aaaaaaaaaaa…..Aaaaaaaaaaaa………..dog.”
“A dog?” I asked perplexed.
“Yes, when I am firty-two, I am going to be a dog.” she proudly stated.
“Just a dog? Or do you mean a dog trainer? Or maybe a Veterinarian?” I probed.
“Mom! I just told you, a dog. I am going to grow up to be a dog. You said I can be anything I wanted to be when I’m old, and I want to grow up and be a dog,” she replied in a rather irritated tone.
I did in fact tell her that she could be anything she wanted to be, but obviously there are some limitations. This, perhaps, is even worse than my shallow aspirations of being a land-bound marine biologist.
“Well sweetie, you can’t grow up and turn into a different species like a dog or a bird. It’s just not possible. You were born a human being.” I explained gently.
“A bird? A bird? Mom, that’s silly. I know I can’t grow up to be a bird!” she scoffed. “I said a dog and that’s what I’m going to be.”
She stomped her foot in the direction of the dirty clothes pile I was loading into the washer and then dramatically walked off, legs marching and arms swinging wide.
I knew there was no need to rain on her parade, and I’m sure that she’ll find a passion for something, maybe to do with animals. She spends a lot of time with our dog, Baxter, particularly now that school is back in session and her brothers are gone most of the day. Preschool only takes up a couple hours, so the rest of the time is spent either with me or the dog.
I think she prefers the dog.
They love tea parties, and coloring. He’s always a good patient at the “dogter’s office” (I was corrected when I said “the vet’s” because this office deals ONLY with dogs). They’ll sit with their stuffed animals watching TV on the couch….
They also love to play pretend…
I may be partial, but I think she makes a pretty adorable dog.
And to be honest, sometimes it’s hard to tell if she’s trying to be a dog, or the dog is trying to be a kid…
Hell, I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up, and being a dog, especially the way mine lives, doesn’t sound so bad after all.
What about you? Do your kids know what they want to be when they grow up?
Leave me a comment and let me know! I’d love to hear from you!