I hope my child grows up to be…To Be.

My daughter starts school next week. I cannot believe how quickly our summer break flew by! Back to early mornings, homework, tests, games; inevitably busy schedules.

I’ve spent most of her years wondering and worrying about what she’ll “become”.

Do I have her in the right sports and activities to foster her natural talents? Is she doing well enough academically to survive in the real world? (What is the real world, by the way? A topic for another day…)

As a parent, our job is to prepare our children to leave our nest one day and successfully build their own.

Am I doing it right? Will she have a strong, sturdy nest? Will she have the skills necessary to pay the mortgage on said nest and feed her little ones? Will she be well-adjusted? Will she have the right coping skills? Can she get through life with only minimal therapy?

I’ve spent years analyzing my daughter’s natural abilities and interests, trying to make sense of it all and guide her in the right direction.

What is the right direction?

Earlier this month, I spent a week in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. If you’ve not been, or aren’t familiar, the Outer Banks is a string of long, narrow barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. It’s famous for the Wright Brothers’ first flight, Blackbeard the pirate, and the birthplace of the first English child (Virginia Dare), as well as beautiful expanses of beachfront.

In the northern part of the Outer Banks is an unincorporated community on the island of Corolla called Carova Beach. It is only accessible by four-wheel drive as you need to drive in the sand, and its completely non-commercialized. Other than roughly 500 beach homes, there isn’t much there. Except for the wild Banker Horses.

These horses are direct descendants of the Spanish horses brought over by settlers. There are just over 100 of them roaming freely on about 8,000 acres. They spend their days grazing and from what I can tell, doing whatever else they want.

I’m not sure if the horses’ mothers have spent adequate time worrying about what their offspring would “become”. I’m guessing they just thought they’d grow up to become a horse. And do horse things.

And so I’m starting to gain perspective. My child will become whomever she becomes. She may have some labels; wife, mom, employee, consultant, professional, laborer, party clown.

She may start out on one path, and then at mid-life change and go down another, and perhaps then yet another.

None of it matters.

She may be an attorney, or a nurse, or a scientist, or a writer (oh, God no). It will have nothing to do with who she is.

What my hope for her is, is that she becomes nothing more than she already is. Beautiful, thoughtful, funny, creative, loving, sensitive, kind, generous and full of life.

My hope for her is that she will learn how to be. Not to chase and strive and become, all while forgetting to be. Just to be.

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