Aside from magician, this list of things Braden wants to be when he grows-up are consistent with his talents and interests. With the exception of a newly discovered love of skateboarding, Braden has long voiced his interest in these careers. (Yes, he's only 8, but he's wanted to be President of the United States since he was 4.) The shows we watch on television, the books we read, and the vacations we take are often influenced by these pursuits. As his mom, I don't see these announcements for his future as fleeting fancies and eagerly await his future, grown-up job.
But his varied interests prompted me to reflect on my childhood aspirations for "when I grow-up". As far back as my memory serves, I have wanted to be two things: a teacher and a mom. No bold decrees about my future as a fighter pilot or aerospace engineer; instead, my desires to teach and mother stood simple, solid, and resolute. Aside from a shift from early childhood education to secondary English education and a current longing to get my doctorate and move from high school teacher to college professor, my vision has remained steadfast.
However, Braden's battery of options and hopes and talents made me question myself. What does it say about me that I've only had two career aspirations during my life, even during my childhood days when my imagination could have encouraged anything? In search of the answer to this question, I did what every self-respecting 35 year-old woman does--I called my mom. My mom, like moms are supposed to, alleviated my worry:
"Knowing so certainly what you wanted is a gift," she said. "Many people spend years finding their niche. You were fortunate to know and to heed it. I always wanted to teach, too, but people told me I was too smart, that I should be a lawyer or a doctor or something else. And believing that, that I was too smart to be a teacher, led me down the wrong path for many years. Smart people can be teachers, should be teachers--people like you and Travis [my brother] and me. And for the really good teachers, the ones who do it right, it's the hardest job a person can have. It's perfectly okay that it's all you ever wanted."
And so, when I grow-up, I want to be a teacher, just like my mom and my brother and both of my dads and Stephanie Tatum and my Chaucerians (and a long list of other smart people I know who are teachers).