My older son generally chooses bedtime as the moment to share his deepest thoughts, fears, and concerns. It’s also when he’ll tell me secrets or about upsetting things that happened at school that day. He could go the whole day with barely saying anything to me, but when I go into his room to tuck him in and turn out the lights that is when he opens up.
I am fully aware that most of the time our chats are delay tactics, but some of our best conversations have happened in his darkened room, right before he falls asleep.
The other night, as leaned over to give him a kiss on the forehead, he said (in a serious tone), “Mummy, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.” He seemed to think it was a decision he needed to make soon. He is one month away from his 10th birthday so obviously time is running out. When I was 10, my life dream was to work at a diner just like the one in Alice.
“That’s ok,” I told him. “ you have plenty of time to think about it.”
Then he dropped the bombshell that seemed to be wracking him with guilt and worry: “I don’t want to be a writer or an editor.” This was clearly something he had put a lot of thought into and was wasn’t sure how I would react that he didn’t want to follow in my footsteps.
“That’s ok,” I said. “Writer’s don’t make a lot of money”. He was surprised by that, of course, but he still thinks he’s loaded because he’s managed to save $100 from the past few years of birthday money – also, he’s a hoarder and I think he secretly holds the desire to collect enough cash that he can roll around in it à la Scrooge McDuck, even though he doesn’t know who that is.
Either way, while he may still be stressing on what he’ll be when he grows up, at least he now knows he doesn’t have to worry that I’ll be disappointed that he doesn’t join the ever-changing publishing industry.
To be honest, I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to be when I grow up. I have been working in publishing in one form or another for almost 20 years, and in professional publishing for over 12 years (until early this year when I made the tough choice to just walk away from it.) When I was younger I envisioned writing my own books and being an inspiration to young children like Beverly Clearly or Judy Blume. Now, I’m pretty pleased with myself when I finish a blog post.