‘I Wanna Be Just Like You!’

When I was little, I thought my parents were the greatest parents in the world, as most kids do.

My parents had no fault.s They knew everything, and between them could do everything. I wanted to be just like them someday.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized that my parents are not, in fact, superhuman creatures.

They get tired. They don’t know everything there is to know. In fact, there’s a lot they don’t know. There are also a lot of things they can’t do.

But there’s still a lot they can, and did do.

They’ve always loved me unconditionally, and offered me support, and been good examples of good, moral behavior.

One of the best gifts they’ve given me was teaching me that I can do anything I want to, if only I try hard enough (within reason, of course).

They never told me “you can’t do that, you’re a girl.”

When Dad was working on the car, and I came along and said “can I help?” he always said” sure” and found me a ‘job” to do.

As a result, by the time I was a teenager, I was very useful helping with many odd jobs around the house/farm.

When either Dad or Mom was cooking and I wanted to help, again, I was given a “job” like stirring, or licking the spatula when we were done frosting a cake.

When Mom was sewing, she gave me some thread, a scrap of fabric and an embroidery hoop and taught me to stitch too.

When I wanted to play soccer, Mom and Dad signed me up, hauled me to games and practices, and cheered me on.

When I wanted to do theater, they signed me up for summer camps. When I wanted to be a Girl Scout, they took me to meetings, and drove me to camp.

“You can do anything you want,” My mom always told me.

As a little girl i thought that meant that yes, I could be a Barbie/fairy princess/ She Ra / Peter Pan/ president/ astronaut/ ballerina. Later I realized what she meant was that I could choose any career in life I wanted.

Having met others whose parents had to be persuaded to come around to their career choices, I realize I am lucky. My parents wanted me to choose whatever I wanted to do. And they were determined to help me get the education I needed to do it well.

No, my parents aren’t perfect. They’re not superhuman paragons of human existence I thought they were when I was little.

But they are smart, witty, compassionate, kind, clever, brave, and caring. They are good at problem-solving, cooperating, teamwork. They can build things, sew things, cook things, fix things, and teach.

Even as a small child, I was always glad to be my own person, but I will always want to turn out “just like” my mom and dad.

It still makes me stand just a bit taller if someone tells me they think I have.

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