When I Grow Up


I was inspired to write this by a blogger named Sreejit that I follow.  He wrote about what he wanted to be when he grew up and it made me reflect on my childhood.


When I was ten I had a new step Mom and I had been dancing classical ballet for four years under the strict and traditional style of an old school Argentine dancer.  Ballet was everything to me and I continued being quite dedicated to it until I was fifteen years old, when my body developed and I was no longer a match for the weight and body type requirements.  My pop music interests started around 11 years of age when I had a neighbor originally from Cape Cod named Danielle who was obsessed with John Cougar (Mellencamp) and Bruce Springstein.  Together we sat on my Dad’s brown sofa and watched MTV launch with amazement.  The astronaut with the MTV flag, the same ten or twenty videos looping, the VJs, it was all new and incredible to us at 12 and 13 years old.  We had a crush on a guy (yes the same guy) in our building complex, we would fish off of our dock in the river and lay on the roof of our building to get tanned.  When Danielle moved away to live with her Mother I was a teenaged brace face with a very two household schedule and dance.  I was an only child and got a baby sister at my Dad’s house when I was 13.  If I think about what I wanted to be when I grew up then, I come up with a blank.  I already knew that being a ballerina was not possible as I was not at the top of my class and my teacher weighed me and a couple of other girls each Friday because we weren’t slender enough.  I was not a kid who wanted to be a veterinarian or any of those childhood favorites.  My parents were working hard to make life happen but I don’t remember thinking I’d follow in their career footsteps.  Not because of what they were doing but it just wasn’t something that entered my mind at all.  While I was an adolescent, the thought of what I wanted to be when I grew up was never a thought.  I was processing factors in my home life, going to school, going to dance classes and later participating in sports at school.  Like most at that age I loved music, make up and wanted to have friends.  The first three concerts I attended (with my Mom) were Wham, The Jacksons and Prince.  I remember my childhood fondly but I don’t remember dreaming about a white wedding, a glamorous career or a fancy life.  The path that life takes with it’s turns and forks in the road is not predictable and I did not have a wish about what it would be like either.  The person who inspired me to write this, Sreejit, entitled his post “Dreams and the Continual Creation of our Reality” and the end of that title speaks to me more because I believe in taking action and making one’s reality.  I guess I am not a dreamer, as unromantic as that sounds.  What about you and your childhood dreams?

“Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its focus.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Traditions, Bonds and Family

Probably like a lot of kids with parents who were busy persevering, parents who broke ties with their rituals or were pulled away from family and religion because of life’s circumstances, I was raised with no traditions. For a few years my Mom dressed me up in a fancy outfit and hat on Easter and I had a few Easter egg hunts . Of course there was a Christmas tree each year but I struggled with the idea of Santa and when I was seven or eight years old my Mom said she had to put $40 under the tree for Santa. My parents were busy making a living, there was no time for checking off lists to Santa. During my childhood my step Mom was an atheist, my Mom a unitarian or metaphysicist and my Dad seemed to be unaffiliated with any faith except for a few years when he enjoyed the 8am service at an Episcopal church where my sisters were baptized. My Mom talked to me about God, I prayed and felt close to him all of my life and for that I am so grateful. My Grandfather wore a pendant of a saint around his neck all of his life, the one which his birth date belonged to. I have that pendant and I wear it or hold it sometimes. My Dad also wears his saint’s pendant on a long gold chain, just like his Dad did. When I was a newborn and in my young years, the older woman who cared for me had a small statue of Jesus Christ in her home where he had sticks as crutches and was bloodied and mostly unclothed with a couple of dogs accompanying him. I thought nothing of these diverse spiritual influences in my life as a child or young adult. I am so thankful for them now. These bold individuals living their lives their way, feeling their own relationships with spirit or a larger whole in their own styles. Each adult in my life following their heart, connecting to their faith in their way, sent a message to me that my faith was mine and there was not a wrong way. I hope to pass their strengths and inspirations on to my children. Thinking of this with a grateful heart today. -smilingbug