"Your story should be written now while it is fresh and while the true details are available. A journal is the literature of superiority. Each individual can become superior in her own humble life." ~Spencer W. Kimball
I was at the awkward age of thirteen when I was first asked the question. I was sitting in an overstuffed classroom of prepubescents who thought we were a lot more mature and older than we had any right to think. The florescent lights bathed us in the slightly off-key hum which left a ringing in our ears as we fidgeted in the uncomfortable chairs. The class was supposed to be a business class, helping to mold our minds into the future leaders of America.
The teacher stood at the front of the classroom, slightly leaning against the blackboard and getting chalk dust all over her boxy powder blue pants suit. The artificial light lit up her frizzy hair and glinted off her glasses, blinding those caught in the sliver of reflection. She had a tired but earnest expression on her face as she asked the question.
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
A question asked by many who wanted to be mentors to us, picturing many of us rising to such great heights as scientists, researchers, authors, and for the overly ambitious ones, even glimpses of the white house.
I had heard the question many times, but had always been able to avoid answering it. My heart longed to nurture and to love, but such an answer would be deemed unacceptable among my peers. In horror, I watched as the question was aimed at each peer, systematically going down the rows and slowly advancing to the girl sweating in my seat.
Practical kids gave predictable answers.
"I want to be a doctor."
"I am going to be a lawyer."
Even the attention starved kids who never paid attention had ready answers.
"I want to be a movie star!" the drama queen swooned.
"I am going to be a DJ" the class clown yelled as he jumped from sitting in his chair to standing on it.
As the question loomed closer, I listened carefully for an idea, anything that I could say which would get me out of this pickle. I could be a stewardess for an airline. I could do music therapy, but nothing felt right. Before I could come up with something that would dazzle and impress both the class and teacher, it was my turn.
"a teacher" I mumbled, betraying my heart while desperately trying to hide my crimson cheeks. Quite honestly, I had no desire to ever be a teacher. I knew I didn't have the patience to teach some one else's snot nosed kid.
The teacher moved on, and asked the other eager kids, leaving me to think about my answer and true desires.
As long as I can remember, I have had one desire, one wish for my life.
To be a stay at home mother.
I longed to be able to one day marry, have lots of kids, and stay home with them. I wanted to be June Cleaver, which is something I would never dare admit to my fellow-classmates. What a boring profession and all the stigmas which are attached to it. What a shameful thing to want, to admit.
For years, I stuck by the teacher answer. I figured the classes that I would need to take to be a teacher would equally benefit me as a mother, so I hid my real reasons and jumped on the hopeful teacher bandwagon. It was full of girls with great mothering instinct who "wanted more out of life." Girls who "didn't want to spend their talents or potential stuck in a kitchen or at home with kids" because they were worth so much more than that.
Words and phrases like that always saddened me. What a beautiful thing it would be to be able to give a child such security, love and direction in their lives. Especially at such a young age! To be the guiding light in their life would be so fulfilling. I never could think of anything more gratifying than the tight squeeze from little arms, the snuggling into my embrace, and the sweetest word in the world: "Mommy" directed at me.
I am happy to say I was lucky enough to get my dream. I did grow up, and eventually got married. I now hold the coveted role of Mother, and couldn't be happier. Some days are very hard and I question my strength and patience. Some days end with my head buried in my pillow, completely exhausted and dreading the next day. And when the sun rises, I jump out of bed, ready to embrace my wonderful life of Motherhood. I crawl up the stairs, hoping to be up before the kids, into the kitchen, and begin my day. I want to get them a hot breakfast, because a hot breakfast is so important for a young developing body, and help them start their day right. Good food, no television. I get to impose all of my ideals on them, and hope I can help them have the tools they need to have a successful life.
As a mother, I get to be a doctor. I get to be an actor. I get to be a taxi cabby, a chef, a maid, a DJ, a movie star, a photographer, a teacher, a scientist, a historian, etc. I get to be just about every occupation out there, and at the end of the day, I get snuggles and kisses and sticky hugs. I get to help shape and mold young impressionable minds, and in return, I am the coolest or most embarrassing person in their lives, and they love me for it.