|When I Grow Up |
By Sharri Kerkhoff
My five-year-old daughter, Julia, knows who she is and where she's going. Just ask her. Her eight-year-old brother, Ray, did while they were riding in the van. "I'm going to swim with sharks when I grow up," he declared. "What are you going to be?"
"A princess, silly!" she exclaimed, giving him her best are-you-new-around-here look.
"Who's going to be your prince? You can't be a princess without a prince," he informed her.
"I know," Julia answered. After a bit of a pause she named Caleb as her knight-in-shining-armor. Caleb is a three-year-old playmate of hers that basically does whatever she says.
"Does he know that?" Ray asked.
"No," she said "I'll tell him later."
Ask Julia about any of her personal preferences, and she can answer in a snap. Favorite color, favorite food, favorite book, favorite cartoon -- she knows what she likes and why. As her mother and almost three decades her senior, I wish I had the confidence and insight to be as bold.
I've been in a MOPS group for more than six years now. Every year, at least once, this question lands like a lump of lead on the discussion table. "If you had two hours to yourself and could do anything, what would you do?"
Uggghhh! How I despise that question. Ask me about world peace. Ask me about our country's budget deficit. Ask me if I dye my hair. Just don't ask me what I would do if it were just me! The embarrassing answer is: "I don't know."
Somewhere in the middle of knowing everyone else's favorite color, and food, and movie, and hobby; Iíve forgotten my own. My mother's generation would wear that ignorance like a badge of selflessness and devotion. But, today we know better. We know that itís neglect, not nurturing, that makes us forget who God made us to be. We know that someday our children will grow and leave our care.
What kind of woman will my children leave behind, I wonder? Will I recognize or remember her? What if she has no direction, drive or dreams of her own? If I wait to find out who I am until then, will there be any of me left? I have decided that I will stop envying my daughters determination and resolve, and start remembering who God made me to be.
As I chuckled from the driver's seat of the van that day of Ray and Julia's conversation, I asked myself a similar question. What do I want to be when my kids grow up? What do I want to be now? Itís time to start remembering my own identity -- how I can use my gifts and talents for God's kingdom. After all, Iíve already found my prince!