“I don’t want to grow up, because baby if I did…I wouldn’t be a Toys 'R Us kid!”
My nine-year old daughter chimed in to the commercial jingle while shaking her hips with gusto. I smiled at her in agreement.
“Being a kid is pretty great, isn’t it?” I asked her.
“Yep mom and my favorite part is that I don’t have to go to work every day,” she replied. “Some people hate their jobs.”
Her response took me by surprise. I could hear echo’s of her father’s voice complaining about his job through her little statement. My ex-husband hasn’t loved his on-again, off-again profession in about ten years. It’s amazing how perceptive children are.
I quietly acknowledged the work comment and then suggested we focus on finding her a job she adores, so that work would be a blessing and not a curse.
“I want to be an actress mommy,” my daughter said.
I nodded in approval, thrilled that she has moved on from professional cheerleader to actress.
“Mommy, what did you want to be when you were little?” my daughter inquired.
My eyes filled with tears as I thought about her innocent little question.
“Well honey, I wanted to be a writer,” I said passionately. “I wanted to tell stories and entertain other people the way my books carried me through dark days. I also wanted to read and get paid for it. Read and write for a living… all day, every day, forever and ever!”
She gave me a quizzical look, slightly concerned at my over-dramatic response to her simple question.
“Mommy, you are a writer. You just took a long time to figure it out.”
Off she skipped, leaving me to process the ramifications of her statement.
How is it that 38 years slipped through my fingers before I finally pursued my childhood dream of writing? I don’t remember saying as a child, “When I grow up I want to play it safe! Minimize risk and avoid failure at all costs.”
And yet that’s exactly what I have done and what I see so many of my friends do. We bury our dreams, escape into destructive coping mechanisms, and little by little lose the fiery spirit God gave us each one of us to uniquely live out loud.
Isn’t this really the essence of a mid-life crisis? We simply forget our identity and think hot sex or a Porsche will make the aching hole vanish.
So, when I grow up, hopefully before I turn 40 (I have about 18 months to go), I want to be bold like my daughter. Reclaim my courageous spirit beaten down by years of life, and like a little child, have faith that with God all things are possible.
Oh yeah…and I want to write, read books and tell stories, every day, forever and ever.