“Mom, I will need a big car when I grow up because I am going to be a farmer and that’s it! And, I am not going to change my mind on this one, NEVER!! “
I suppressed a giggle at this last word uttered with such acute resolve. If it were a teenager saying this, I would have either taken her dead seriously or laughed out loud, but 7 can be a very sensitive age. It is when easy offence and heavy sentences like “you hurt my feelings” come easily.
“Ok”, I said, “that sounds good; maybe you can send me some fresh vegetables to cook”. She pondered over my request for a couple of seconds and said, “Only if you promise to cook something for me too”! Wow, I thought, already bargaining!
“Because I will be living close by in my own house and I will be having a farm dog too, to take care of my plants (=crops). Me and my sister will work in the farm and she will have her own kitty too”. First a dog, followed by the cat. Hmm…so that’s what this was about!
My girls have been wanting a pet since a couple of years now. One of them wants a dog and the other one wants a cat. They have yet to reach a consensus, not that it will matter. I am not ready to take on the responsibility of any more dependents in the house!
And in my vehement denial of their request to have a pet, I may have used a couple of strong statements like ‘no pets in this house’ which probably led to this whole idea of living on a farm close by with her sister and a dog and a cat. Well, atleast she thought of taking her sister with her, if not us!
But the giggle wasn’t for the cat or the dog or the farm, it was for the “I am not changing my mind, never!”
Not so long ago, she wanted to be a nurse, yes, not a doctor but a nurse. When I asked her why not a doctor, she said “it’s because the nurse who does everything, the doctor just comes and chats for a few minutes. So the nurse is more important than the doctor.”
Applying the same logic she had proclaimed (before she switched occupations) that waiters were more important than the owners in a restaurant because they were the one who took care of the customers, took their orders and brought them their favorite things to eat. And so why would she want to be the owner and just sit in a chair doing nothing, nope she would rather be a server and make people happy!
But again, the need to choose a profession to follow didn’t start with a restaurant. It began with the mail. Guess what we wanted to be when we were four and a half years old? A mail-lady! “Mommy I want to drive this cute little van when I grow up and give people their letters.” Mommy didn’t know whether to encourage her for believing in dignity of labor or reprimand her for not being ambitious.
For all the career alternatives she has explored in the last couple of years, the one that is close to my heart is the first choice she made. She was in preschool when I asked her what she would like to be when she grew up. ‘A butterfly’ she had happily said without hesitation. And I could only marvel at her innocence for dreaming so big.
Now that she goes to second grade next month, I know it isn’t for long that I will be a privy to such conversations. Practical opinions will be formed and in a couple of years she will really start forming an idea about what she would like to do when she is a grown up. At the moment though, I am happy to take her back if she doesn’t like it at the farm!