25.3.10

Umbilical Ambition

It's funny, you know. When my children were conceived and I carried them through my pregnancy I had 10 million dreams for them: what they would look like, what they would be like, what gestures they would have, what they would be when they grew up. Soon after they were born, though, the dreams disapated and I was left with just awe at who they are now and curiosity about who they will become. Sure, I still have dreams, but they are not the forces of power they were during the pregnancies.

I have always wanted to be a doctor. The plan had been I would pay off my student loans, have my family and then go to medical school once the children are school age. Perhaps that's not the most practical plan nowadays. I am slowly and reluctantly relinquishing that dream. But with that reliquishment comes a certain amount of hope and intrigue.

What will I be? What will I do? Can I make a livlihood and be happy writing? Will I accomplish another dream in the health field (a picture is emerging in my mind of a whole health practice, offering psychological counselling, fitness training, dietetic consulting, and workplace therapy)? Will I do something else entirely, maybe finish that application to law school finally and settle for that dream?

Of course, the moment my eldest mentioned he'd like to be a doctor I was all over that dream! And then my second-born followed suit. I was in heaven. I mean if I can't that doesn't mean they can't right?

But I don't think they really want to. Their dreams change weekly - day to day sometimes. So far my eldest has wanted to be a pilot, an astronaut, a doctor, a rockstar, a transformer, a firefighter, a policeman and a Mommy.

Now some of those are completely impossible: Mommy and Transformer. Several are highly unlikely: rockstar and, unfortunately due to his strabismus and vision I'm pretty sure pilot and astronaut are out.

When I was pregnant with him and in those early months when we saw his aptitude with manipulative skills and puzzles we thought perhaps he might go into engineering of some sort, or maybe architecture. But now we don't know if he has the attention span for such pursuits. Of course, he is only five years old. And his interests will change a million times before he graduates high school even.

And many have suggested he may be writer. He does, after all, have a vivid imagination and a true gift for "storeytelling" (or,as some say, lying).

Where will he go? What will he do?

There's a very practical side of me that wants to know now exactly where his main interests lie. I want to be able to prepare him for his future: enroll him extracurriculars or enage him in learning that leans towards his future career pursuits. The world is becoming so competitive these days, even amongst the younger set. I worry sometimes that we haven't pushed computer skills on him or drawn a star chart on his ceiling.

And then the even more practical side of me says to myself "Yes, and what interviewer ever asked you at what age you learned to use the computer? When has your astronomy interest ever helped you in anything besides impressing a boy or now your children?"

The dreamer in me is the one that rules though. The dreamer that sees his future wide open: the questions, the hope, the intrigue - just like for myself. I've always been reluctant to chose a single career path because that means closing off several other paths. I guess I am a road-not-taken thinker in some ways. I love that right now my children have a million roads to chose from and switchbacks, shortcuts, and side alleys to adventure on.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor - I really don't care. As long as they're happy overall and have an adventuresome journey to their future, the careers they chose will only be waypoints anyway. I know that the futher they travel, the narrower their choices will become and I'm interested in seeing how they navigate the maps of their lives. Will they go straight and fast down a narrow route? Will they turn around, maybe get lost, and end up somewhere completely unexpected? Will they skip and turn and flutter about from waypoint to waypoint with no idea of a destination? The only thing I hope is that they never come to a standstill and that they learn not to take the forbidden and dangerous roads to self-destruction. Other than that, the way the take to get to their destination is as of much interest to me as the destination itself and I'm waiting and watching to see what happens.


This post was written in response to prompt #3 What do you secretly dream of your children doing? in response to Josies Writing Workshop prompts at Sleep is for the Weak.