I’m sitting at the table tonight while my four children are getting ready for bed.
The eleven year old asks a question about something she’d like to purchase with money she has recently acquired.
Somehow, said eleven year old ends up weeping on her bed… overwhelmed by the choices she faces in the years ahead of her.
When she walks back into the kitchen, hair disheveled, nose red, eyes swollen, it is hard for me to breathe.
She is me. Crying as a child, the only daughter, realizing that one day, I would be the only one in my family with a different last name.
“Why are you crying?”, my parents asked.
“When I get married, I will no longer be a ‘VanBibber’. I will be different from the rest of you“, I replied.
Tonight’s conversation was that. And yet it also veered so far from those sentiments.
“Why are you crying?”, we asked.
“The girls in my class already know what they want to do when they grow up“, she replied.
“But so do you. You want to own your own animation company and create cartoons. Have a cat of your own. See the world.”
Their plan is to get married, have children and own a big giant house.
Suddenly, my self-confident child, so sure of her purpose and dreams, is doubtful.
Her dreams don’t look like everyone else’s.
And that makes her a target.
We want everyone to look like us. Dream like us. Think like us.
It makes us feel better about our own choices, doesn’t it?
But that doesn’t make those choices better, or more right for us.
And that doesn’t make them any more likely to come true. If being my own independent-free-spirited self and having four children has taught me anything it’s this: We aren’t all cut from the same cloth.
We all have different purposes, hopes and dreams.
“Mama and Riggy, can I call you anytime I need advice, when I grow up?”
“Of course, Sweetness. We are always here for you.”
Just be you, my sweet girl.
Just be you.
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