A while back, I wrote about my teenage
dream of becoming a romance novelist. Dream accomplished! Check that one off the bucket list.
Actually, it’s been a couple of years now and I have several books out. I write sweet romance under the pen name Amberlee Day. You can Google “Amberlee Day” or check out my blog link below if you want details.
Yep, I have a pen name. That’s pretty adult, don’t you think? My adolescent self would be impressed. However, my parents, at least when I was a teenager, hoped I would be a teacher.
When your kids are babies, you can’t help but dream about what they’ll be when they grow up. We parents become convinced that our preschoolers have what it takes to wow the world. This one will be a ballerina, that one an astronaut. As they grow, we pay for his tuba lessons and encourage her to be the best soccer player she can be. Who knows, it may lead to college scholarships, or at least give them something to perform in the school talent show.
Sometimes we even dream big, don’t we? Your sweet angel could become an Olympic gymnast or a professional cellist. It could happen. And sometimes it does.
What actually happens is that most kids grow up to be average people. That’s not a bad thing. And, if we’re lucky, they’ll be people who know what it means to be kind, to live joyfully and to do their best, whatever that is.
In the first few years that I knew my mother-in-law, she must have told me 20 times that my husband could have been a doctor. Usually, I just smiled and nodded when she said that. When I’d heard it one time too many, I kindly said (through gritted teeth), “Yes! He probably could have been a doctor. The thing is, he chose to be something else. Something else that’s good.” She considered that before agreeing, “You’re right.” And that finally brought an end to the subject.
There’s nothing wrong with thinking and even hoping our kids will be singing divas, or master chefs, or president of the United States. It’s like we’re reading a book. We think we know where the plot’s going, but we never really do. Kids change a lot as they grow, and so do their goals.
Our oldest, Jenna, wanted to be a professional dog whisperer when she was small. Not only that, she wanted the dogs to whisper back. I’m not sure what she thought the dogs would say to her. Tell her what they want for dinner, or how they really feel about cats? Would their words really be punctuated with “squirrel!”? I don’t know. Today, she’s all grown up, and is an editor and a writer. Maybe she could write a story about talking dogs so that I know what she was hoping to get out of that.
Little Libby always wanted to teach physical education, because in P.E. you get to move a lot. Today, she’s indeed studying to be an elementary school teacher. She does this in defiance of her father, who wants her to be a medical professional. (See the irony there?)
Ask me in 10 years, and 20, where each of my children end up. No rush, but I’m excited to find out what the answers are. Because that’s the thing: I think I know where their stories are going, but it’s not up to me. I can only give them love, nourishment, and whatever support they need from me. What I can’t do is decide for them.
So while I give my kids space to become what they will, I appreciate them doing the same for me. Our new norm is them sharing me with my latest deadline. And I’m happy to say, they’re Amberlee Day’s biggest fans.
— Learn more about Denise Roundy and her alter ego at TheTreesAndI.Blogspot.com