Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m cut out for life with toddlers. Especially when the toddlers randomly ask questions like, “What is the ‘American dream’?”
How would you explain that (on a three-year-old level)?
So I begin rambling, hoping something I say will make sense to her on some level and hoping that whatever makes sense to her actually relates to the American Dream.
“Well, first of all, in America you get to choose. You can decide if you want to be a doctor . . . or a trashman . . . or work on computers . . .” I’m trying to think of professions she can relate to here.
“In some countries you don’t get to choose,” I told her. “They just tell you what you’re going to be. They will say, ‘Mara, you’re going to be a trashman.'” I was hoping that was not the profession she had in mind. “But!–in America, you get to choose. . . ”
Although that was not the end of my American Dream explanation, I stopped, because all of sudden, her whole face lit up.
I thought for sure she had decided to be a princess–or Emily Elizabeth–or Tosta or Donna Eiseland (her imaginary sisters).
But she surprised me: “I get to choose being a mother!” she exclaimed. “I just . . . want to be a mother.”
My heart melted. I wanted to capture for all time this memory: the softness of her sparkling eyes at that moment, her voice full of meaning, and her smile–the sweetest smile. Ever.
I was about to cry, but I held the tears back. (She’s asked me to explain the “happy tears” concept before too.–She doesn’t get it.)
So I just kissed her on the forehead and said, “You made my day, Mara!”
Then she exclaimed again, “Tomorrow I’m going to make Daddy’s day if I tell him that I want to be a mother. I would just LOVE to be a mother! . . . Annnd if you choose to be a trashman? that will make MY day! . . . ” This left me wondering what on earth she thought of my mothering skills, until she changed her mind: “I would like Micah to be the trashman. Micah, do you choose to be a trashman?”
Thankfully he didn’t. He just stared at her blankly, and characteristicly Mara continued, “I would love to be a food-er mom!”
“What’s a food-er mom?” I asked.
“Youuuu know! I would give us food.” She looked a little sheepish because I was laughing. “I would serve us food for dinner! I would be a server-mom!” she kept trying to explain.
By this point I was laughing pretty hard.
“I get to choose being a mother! I just want to be a mother.”
Me too, sweetheart. Me too.
And in that moment, I realized–I’m living my American Dream.