This morning, during breakfast, during that brief eye of the hurricane between squabbles over who gets to hold which cereal box, the spillage of orange juice and shouts from the male half of the parenting duo of “come on! come on!”, Elder Girleen posed the following question to her younger sister:
Hey, P, what do you want to be when you grow up?
If the face of a three-and-a-half year old can exhibit complete and utter disdain, Younger Girleen’s did at that moment.
I DON’T WANT TO GROW UP, she replied and that settled the question.
This may be the most sensible answer to this question that I’ve ever heard; in fact, as I multi-tasked between feeding myself, feeding others, drinking coffee, sneaking a look at yesterday’s NY Times Book Review, making nutritious lunches to be schlepped to school and emptying the dishwasher, I doffed my hat to her.
I’m sure that if I sat down and devoted three hours to thinking about it, I probably could set some laudable goals a la Your Best Year Yet, mentioned last post, and I must admit that the thought of doing so appeals to the adult section of my brain, the same side that couldn’t stop itself from picking up a copy of The Mom’s Day Planner! at a stationary store the other day.*
I started making lists when I was a freshman in college, and the fact that the Husband can get through his life without doing so blows my tiny mind (practically the first thing out of my mouth when he received the employment boot was maybe you should make a list…)**
I will teach myself to play the guitar; I will double the size of the garden; I will finish the novel; I will be a better mom/daughter/spouse/neighbor; I will resume my role as community gadfly until the City, distressed or not, breaks ground on the playground promised our neighborhood; I will make more money; I will sell myself better; I will paint the house; I will…
I’ve run out of breath.
But there is something, also, to be said, for being completely at home in the skin you inhabit right this minute.
Ours is a culture seduced by transformation (and by success, but that’s another story),*** and I’m a sucker for the modern fairy tales (What Not to Wear, where Cinderella becomes a princess every single time; Super Nanny, where the dysfunctional family becomes a sane one in just four days…) as much as the next girl, but this year, I think I’d rather take a page from Younger Girleen’s book.
Here’s to being no one other than the person you are, right this second.
*Did she buy it; did she not? Only the Shadow knows!
** Of course, those freshman in college lists were practically elegant haikus:
finish reading Moby Dick for AmLit
*** The fact that transformation often involves spending money bears thinking about: how much of our lust for transformation has to do with keeping consumer spending levels up?