And suddenly I saw her: delicate and small and curled up in a ball, sleeping and dreaming and playing. I saw into her eyes, as the gears turned and she figured out how to do things on her own, always different than the way they wanted or expected.
I saw her reading, making, creating, imagining. Thinking, thinking, thinking.
Right then I decided to feed her well, to brush her hair and let her secretly read under the covers before bed. I thought that maybe I’d let her get a pet, if she could first demonstrate responsibility.
I thought I should probably limit screen time, and make sure she spends afternoons outside. I should teach her arts and crafts, cooking, and survival skills. I’ll supply all the books that her mind can fathom. And paper and paint for when it rains. She can go into the woods and create whole worlds, and still come back in time for dinner. Her days will be filled with magic and excitement. Her nights, with comfort and familiarity. We will travel together, go to orchestras, and ballets. I will take her to museums and she will marvel at the historical artifacts from a different time, and realistic versions of animals she’d only seen in books. She will have loyal support systems, and a stable home. She will also get to explore on her own.
Then, on a slow weekend morning, when we are eating chocolate chip pancakes together, I will ask her the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I want her to easily, and without hesitation, be able to answer, “this.”