After reading before bed the other night, my oldest kiddo snuggled in next to me and wanted to chat. It was late, we had already read an extra chapter in Charlotte’s Web, and I was tired. But I listened to my six year old relive parts of her day that seemed to stand out now that she was finally still.
In chronological order she recounted swimming lessons, the movie we had watched that afternoon,and the silliness of riding her bike through the sprinkler. I realized I was drifting off to sleep so I asked her if we could stop talking and close our eyes.
“Let’s go to sleep, E. I was up late last night and I am pooped.”
My kids love it when I say pooped, mostly because it’s pretty close to potty talk and they like having the license to say poop.
She giggled and asked why I was up late.
“I was working. I had to get an article written before I went to bed.” My daughter knows I am a writer, but doesn’t fully understand that my writing schedule is dependent on her and her siblings –on their sleep patterns, on their camp or school schedules, on their health. Like most parents, my best work is done when my kids are not around. For me that is usually early or late hours of the day. The other night was a late night.
“Well, what were you writing about?”
I reminded her of the short film we had watched together about the two boys who loved each. I told her I wrote about how awesome and important it is for everyone to see that love between two boys or girls is the same kind of love between a boy and a girl. I reminded her that not everyone gets to see that kind of awesome and important love.
And without missing a beat or saying it because she thought she had to, she said, “I am proud of you mama. And when I am older I am going to be a writer too and tell everyone about how awesome it is to have two moms.”
I couldn’t have loved her more or been more proud of her. And after I hugged her she rolled away, finally ready for sleep and said, “Or maybe I won’t be a writer.”
I laughed. Surprised but not at all surprised by my independent and joyful kid.
“You can be whatever you want to be.” And she will. One day she may choose to be a writer and the next she may choose to be something else.
But she is an artist. In the way she carries her spirit. In the way she laughs. In the way she follows her heart.
I have always been a writer and an artist too. Sometimes I feel like I need to be these things, not just to ease an ache in my soul that calls me to create, but to educate others to show that my family is not less than.
She can be whatever she wants to be, but I want her to need to do it for only herself and herself alone.
This post was originally published on Family Rhetoric by Amber Leventry on August 17, 2017.