What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up

by Marinka on July 17, 2009

When I was a kid, my parents and their friends seemed to ask me this question nonstop. At first, because I didn’t talk very much and they wanted to engage me and later because I would routinely provide answers like “a table or maybe a lamp”, much to everyone’s entertainment. I’m sure if I grew up in symptomatic America, those responses would have gotten me institutionalized.

But I didn’t, so I continued with my furniture and furnishings aspirations.

I swore that I would never ask my kids. But I broke that swear.

I don’t ask them a lot, but sometimes I do, to see which way the wind’s blowing and to gage how badly Husbandrinka and I should panic over our diminishing 401k plans.

My son wants to be a professional baseball player, which is a huge relief because they make tons and tons of money. He also has an interest in being Darth Vader, on a part-time basis, but I’m hoping that he’ll grow out of that and just focus on baseball.

My daughter doesn’t understand my question.
“I don’t know,” she says. She’s 11. When I was 11, I knew that I wanted to be a banquet table, so I don’t appreciate her laid back attitude about her future.
“It’s not written in stone,” I lie, jotting down some bullet points for Young Ladrinka’s major league contract, “what do you think you want to be?”
“What or who?” she asks, but I suspect that she’s just buying time.
“Who. I mean, what. Like a job.”
“A journalist.”

Of course. At camp, they’ve been reading The New York Times and every day she greets me with news of an ethnic conflict in China. “That’s nice, honey,” I tell her because for the first three days, I thought that she was talking about Tienanmen Square and I was feeling all 80s and nostalgic about it. And speaking of the ’80s, I’m also sort of nostalgic about Madonna, because honestly, I hardly recognize her now.

So a journalist and a baseball player. Not too shabby.

One year ago ...

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