The beauty of having very small children is that you get to hope for, dream about and discuss the future. Every time I lean across the sink, getting closer to the bathroom mirror so I don’t stab myself in the eye with the mascara wand, there is a little standing on the toilet and watching my every move.
Sidenote: there are two things to take from that image. 1) This is a novelty moment, reserved for theatre openings, girls night out and church. In that order. I own enough makeup to fill a teacup. 2) Getting older sucks. I used to be able to do my makeup without leaning in and squinting.
“Mommy, can I have makeup?” I get asked this every single time. Nope. You’re beautiful just the way you are. And when you are old enough, I promise to be the one to show you how.
Same goes for leg shaving, driving, using the blender, mowing the lawn and bra shopping. You know, all things that a mother should teach her daughters. Not that my mom taught me all those things. Or any of those things come to think of it. Maybe bra shopping but that was the last of my grown up girl talk until I was very nearly married. You think I’m kidding. Oh wait…I did get the pre-prom talk. Which I believe was, “Just…don’t. Okay?”
Don’t what? Spill hot lasagna on my very expensive forest green satin number? Don’t come home before dawn? Don’t shoot up mushrooms? Don’t what?
I’m surprised I left high school with all my eggs unused.
Anyway…a little off topic but something about spring and summer makes me realize, every year, how fast my littles are growing. Ella wore a skirt (and not a short one…a uniform style pleated skirt) a few weeks ago and I remember remarking to someone that she grew legs over the winter. She started out all stubby and small and now she’s like a real kid! Her body is changing from the pudgy little I-was-a-toddler- just-yesterday look to the gangly elementary school kid. Not that Ella has a shot at being gangly but you know the look. These kids even smell different.
I think a lot about what happens to us as we grow up. I know it’s the cycle of things and I remember my dad saying (and this was very, very soon after Stephen died and the girls were one and three years old) to enjoy every minute, that it goes so fast. At the time, I just about strangled him for suggesting that time should slow down. I didn’t enjoy them at all that year and maybe I should have. I remember very, very little about Ella being three years old. So precious little. I’m all there for the rest of it but there are seven or eight months that are mostly gone and they would be completely gone if it weren’t for this blog.
And as much as the littles and I talk about the future and all the fun things that are to come, I can’t help but wonder what’s to become of me? I mean, being a mom is (mostly) great and all but what about me? What about my needs and my future? When do I get to be a little selfish and do what I want to do and not do something because it’s the best thing for all of us?
Which leaves me with the question, who do I want to be when I grow up?
Because I see myself, if things don’t change, on Hoarders with 18 cats and a roommate I can’t find among the rubble. Okay, maybe not that desperate. I honestly don’t know how I see myself.
I used to say that I wanted to be Tina Fey/Liz Lemon when I grow up. And then I read this today and it is so spot on that my goal to be her is mostly unchanged. I used to embrace her awkward brilliance and now I just think she must be a really great mom so maybe that’s what it’s all about. “Lead her (my daughter) away from acting but not as far as Finance…”
I want to be a marathoner. I know, I know…I just got to 3.5 miles last week but I didn’t say now. I mean sometime…down the road. A 26 mile road. Know why I want to do it? I want the sticker. You know, the oval stickers with the vaguely cryptic “26.2” in the middle? I want the sticker.
I want to be an author. And not just of this story, my story. I want to write the mystery chick-lit novel that is loved by men and women equally. Also, women that don’t admit to reading chick-lit and men who hide the cover but love it more than they would ever admit. I don’t know what that novel is yet. It’s not even in my head. Not yet.
I want to be an anonymous donor. And never tell anyone. Wouldn’t that be kind of fun? I know right where my donation will go but I can’t say it ever because then when they show up to work with a giant check in the mail then somebody will trace it back to me. See? It’s already a fun game.
I want to be a wife. This shouldn’t be a surprise and I’m not shopping at all. This is also the one I can’t control and it’s killing me, just a little bit. I was a great wife. I’d like that chance again.
What else do I want to be when I grow up?
I want to change the world. Don’t we all? I mean, isn’t that why we think we’ve been put on this earth? When a baby or a child or even a young husband and father…when they are taken far too soon there’s always somebody who points out that they have left their mark on the world. That it was a better place because of them and they had a purpose. I want to believe that. Doesn’t mean that I do. Or that I do today. (Maybe tomorrow?) I remember reading somewhere (Thoreau) about “men leading lives of quiet desperation.” Is that me? Except not so quiet I guess.
I’d say that I’d just rather not grow up but the youth has been beaten from me.
It’s a good thing I have these kids. Because if I never run further than five miles or write more than a thousand words a week, I did give this world two healthy and active and bright girls.
And maybe they’ll be the ones to change the world. They just might.