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When I Grow Up: Six-Year-Old Musings

27 Mar

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an air stewardess. I was a very well-traveled kid, and every time I boarded a plane I envied the slim, pretty ladies in their smart uniforms. They were always so elegant and friendly, and they were unfailingly kind to me and my brother. A career of jet-setting around the world meeting all kinds of people greatly appealed to me.

Of course, now that I am a well-traveled adult, I cannot think of a job I would like less. When I board planes, I want to be given my mini-bottle of wine and left alone. The last thing I want to do is walk up and down a narrow aisle handing out peanuts and smiling at strangers until my face hurts.

Anyway, when James was about three, he started having his first When-I-grow-up-I-want-to-be discussions. I clearly remember the day it started. Our walk to the daycare he attended at the time took us past a little restaurant that happens to be a popular breakfast spot for the local police. As usual, all of the parking spaces in front of the restaurant were occupied by police cruisers. James stopped to count them, and then said, “When I grow up, I want to ride in the back of a police car.”

Well! That wasn’t what I was expecting to hear! No parent wants to know that their three-year-old aspires to a life of crime.

Fortunately, he met a cool policeman a short while later and changed his goal to driving the police car.

Since then, James has changed his career aspirations several times. He has considered being a fireman, a race car driver and a builder. Sometimes his sole ambition is to be a dad – hopefully not too soon. Other times he wants to be a Transformer, but he doesn’t say exactly how he will become a thing that’s sometimes a car, sometimes a scary robot.

It doesn’t bother me unduly that James is so undecided about what he wants to do. I mean, the kid is six. He has time to decide.

This weekend, he suddenly came up with a new career idea. The conversation we had went something like this:

James: Mommy, we’re going to have a party.
Me: Oh?
James: Yeah! We’re going to bake a cake and put out some snacks and juice. But the cake will take longer to do so we have to get started on that right away. So I’ll find the juice and Daddy can go and buy snacks while you and George start looking for ingredients.
Me: Silence. Goldfish-impersonation. Thinking: cripes, this kid is bossy!

After a pause, the conversation continued.

James: Mommy, I know what I want to be when I grow up.
Me: Oh good! What’s that?
James: I’m going to be a caterer, and I’m going to tell everyone what to do.

So, he’ll be a caterer. Other than that, nothing much will change, since he tells everyone what to do now.

At the end of the day, I have the same hope for both of my boys: that they will find careers that will make them feel fulfilled and happy, and that they will not ever feel limited into doing something that they do not really want to do.

What career aspirations have your kids told you about? Did you end up doing anything remotely close to what you thought you would as a kid?

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January Goals: Laying The Foundation

9 Jan

launchpadSo, now that I have started 2012 off with a week of inspiration from guest bloggers, it is time for me to solidify my own goals for this year. In short, this year is going to be about me. That does not mean that I will ignore my children, refuse to cook dinner for my family, and let everyone go around in dirty clothes. It simply means that I will do a better job of taking care of myself.

Since becoming a mother, I have put the needs of my family first. Which is fine – the truth is that ultimately, everything I do is for my kids. The problem is that I have been taking care of everyone else at the expense of myself. This has led to me being overwhelmed, exhausted, and in many instances, frustrated and unhappy. In a way, I have allowed the essence of me to get lost, to be buried underneath all of the layers of responsibility that I have imposed upon myself.

And so, this year, I am going to find some balance. I am going to pursue some dreams that have been in the horizon of my mind for some time. I believe that being more balanced, less tired, and more in tune with myself will benefit everyone around me.

In 2012, I am aiming to make great strides in my running. With the help of my friend and coach Phaedra Kennedy, I am going to break 2:10:00 in my Run for Autism in October. I am going to make inroads in the world of writing. And come hell or high water, I am going to develop a positive relationship with food that allows me to build good nutritional habits. The old pattern of alternating binge eating with starving myself is going to come to an end. Sometimes I’m thin, sometimes I’m fat, sometimes I’m in between. I’m tired of the yo-yo, and it makes clothes shopping impossible.

My focus in January will be to lay the groundwork for success. This is my plan:

  • I will realign my sleeping habits to go to bed earlier, so I can wake up early in the mornings to run without feeling like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck. When I start my training program on January 30th, I will be used to getting up at five in the morning. My body will have already made that adjustment.
  • I will learn how to do the strength training exercises that Phaedra gave me, so I can incorporate them in my training program right off the bat.
  • I have ordered my Precision Nutrition kit (thanks, Phaedra, for the tip). When it arrives, I will not just dive into it like an overexcited puppy. I will take the time to look over it properly, learn how to use it, and plan appropriately.
  • I will contact a web designer about revamping my site to incorporate both my blog and a general writing component. That will make it easier for me to market myself as a freelance writer.
  • Since I already have a day job, I will start to use my commutes for writing. That’s exactly why Santa brought me this nifty little ’puter that I am writing this post on.

By the end of this month, I will have built myself a launch pad, and I will be able to spend the rest of the year in pursuit of my goals.

Hop on, it’s going to be a wild ride!

Reaching For The Rainbow

30 Sep

George admiring the rainbow

Three days ago, I saw a rainbow. It was big and bright, a perfect arched gate in the sky. I was in the company of my husband and my older son George, for whom the world is sometimes a source of wonder, sometimes mystery, sometimes bewilderment.

For George, the rainbow fell into the category of wonder. In his eight years, he has seen other rainbows, but none that stretched all the way across the sky like this one did.  He clambered out of the car and hoisted himself onto the seat, grabbing onto the roof rack from the open door. He seemed to be trying to get himself as high up as he could go, as if he wanted to reach out and touch the rainbow.

The magic of the rainbow followed George around for the rest of that day.

In the evening, when it was time for him to go to bed, I tucked him in and, as always, spent a bit of time talking to him, asking him simple questions about his day. These bed-time conversations tend to be a bit one-sided: out of all of George’s autism-related difficulties, poor verbal communication is one of the most troubling. Usually his responses need a lot of prompting. On this particular day, though, he had no trouble at all. When I asked him what he had seen today, he whispered, “Rainbow!” and drifted off to sleep with an angelic smile on his beautiful face.

I sat there for a while watching him sleep. I hoped he was having blissful dreams about rainbows.