Last Updated on August 9, 2020 by World's Okayest Mom
This is a terrible confession to make for a bibliophile and English major, but I love spoiler alerts. I know this is a shameful habit, but I always read the end of the book first. I prefer to only watch television series that have already completed so I can read the Wikipedia summary before I even start. And I’m known to read spoiler alerts for a movie as the beginning credits start to roll.
It’s because I get too invested. I care too much. I lost an entire night of sleep once when I thought Duncan and Veronica might actually be half brother and sister. How can they have their happily ever after if they are related?!? That was obviously before I was on the LoVe ship. (Veronica Mars reference, Mom.) And don’t even get me started on how Game of Thrones ruined my life. And peaceful sleep schedule.
Can I get a spoiler alert for My Girl’s life?
So as we get closer to another birthday for My Girl, I find myself in a pickle. I dread the advancement of time. I want it to slow down because 18 years with My Girl safely tucked into her bed under my roof will never seem long enough. But I also can’t wait to skip ahead to start the next journey.
I look forward to My Girl’s aging because I can’t wait to see how she turns out. I also lose sleep about that too, because, like all just-okay moms, I worry she might end up being a jerk, or marry a loser, or be permanently scarred by my bad parenting. I fear those thoughts will linger until she proves me otherwise.
I’ll never want to skip ahead and miss these years, but at the same time, I wish I could Google My Girl and find the Wikipedia plot summary that tells me what she grows up to be.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
She’s been very consistent in her career ambitions since she was old enough to understand the age-old question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
But as someone, who from age 10 knew exactly what she wanted to be and is not doing anything remotely close to that, I know about the best laid plans of dreamy children. FYI: From age 10 to present day, the dream was to be a writer (novelist, journalist, next Hemingway, etc.); currently my job has to do strictly with numbers, the economy and the stock market. Can you say polar opposite?
Also, My Girl has a lot of potential career paths ahead of her.
My preferred career: Broadway
I never had the ambition for myself to end up on Broadway, though I did make an excellent Tinman in my high school’s production of The Wizard of Oz. And don’t get me started on how I stole the show as an extra named Lydia the Dance Instructor in Fame. But though I may love to belt out “I Dreamed a Dream” in the car (not the Anne Hathaway version), singing on stage was never a real hope for me.
But My Girl… she has the makings of a Broadway starlet.
First and foremost, the drama is strong with that one. Drama over having to set the table. Drama over the “paper cut” (can you call it a paper cut if I can’t even see the point of entry?) she got while making cut-out pizza slices. The drama when anything in life is remotely unfair, like when Jane gets to drop the leaf of lettuce in My Girl’s pet tortoise’s cage, though My Girl does it every other day of her life with an argument. I would love to see all that drama be put to monetary use.
So there’s that, and there’s the fact that I believe My Girl flirts with a photographic memory – only when it suits her, of course. But she’s always been able to quote movies and memorize books. That’s particularly evident these last few weeks after she watched half of Hamilton one time. (Disclosure: I may listen to the soundtrack on repeat though. And Monica and I may have watched it too many times to count.) She now knows most of the lyrics to “Aaron Burr, Sir,” “My Shot,” “The Schuyler Sisters” and “You’ll Be Back.” She also walks around the house, impersonating a drunk Marquis de LaFayette to surprising and entertaining accuracy. I’m so proud.
I envision My Girl taking the stage as a rebooted Elphaba, and I pray that her Broadway career gives her the occasion to meet Lin-Manuel Miranda so she can then introduce me to Lin-Manuel Miranda. Because who isn’t half in love with the man who wrote an almost three-hour, hip hop musical about one of America’s founding fathers? I can tell you, this wordsmith is.
Selling houses and making (The Husband’s) dreams come true
If selling a house at the age of five counts for anything, My Girl could have an accomplished career in realty.
Three years ago, we (me begrudgingly) sold our house and purchased the one I’m sitting in right now. (Don’t tell The Husband, but as much as I didn’t want to move, this was one of our best decisions ever. I heart our neighborhood.) I’m not one to ever do anything half-assed, so I did everything I could to help move along the sale, though it broke my heart.
Mainly, I utilized my most successful parenting style: bribery couture. Hey, if bribery can get my overactive child buckled into a five-point, car seat harness for a seven-hour drive to BFE Iowa, it can certainly sell the three-bedroom house with in-ground pool we had listed.
But, apparently, bribery can be deemed illegal or at the very least, expensive, when selling a home. So I did the next best thing: I cleaned and stressed and baked cookies every time we showed the house.
My Girl did what she does best. No, she didn’t pretend to be a baby alicorn who’s rainbow wings haven’t fully developed yet so she must army crawl everywhere while purring like a congested kitten. She drew pictures.
We hung up – first to pacify My Girl and then in earnest when our realtor thought it might actually help – the pictures: a welcome sign when entering the front door, directional signs pointing to the fabulous backyard and pool (thus the reason for my heartbreak), helpful ones indicating where they should put their shoes, a bathroom sign with a drawing of what lies beyond the door, in case the buyers didn’t know, etc.
And you know what? The damn things worked. When we sold the house to the second couple who toured it, they specifically told the realtor that the signs won them over.
Ok then. Realty it is for My Girl.
Starving Yoga Instructor
For a child who can’t sit still for even our family dinners (20 minutes max), unless we are eating spaghetti, becoming a yoga instructor may not seem like an appropriate calling. After all, she once told me:
“I’m not a calm person.”
But one day, when playing yoga (like you do, right?), I found that she actually has a knack for it. She, very successfully – and honestly, somewhat creepily – took me to my “calm place.”
She said, in the typical yoga instructor, drowsy and melodic voice: “Imagine you’re in a field of lilacs. The wind is blowing. The sun is shining on you. How do you feel?”
Damn! I feel pretty good. And I also feel like I should Google how much yoga instructors in northern Indiana make…
Uh. Not much.
Nevermind. Maybe this could just be a side hustle for her.
An all-inclusive Party Planner
My Girl and parties. If I hadn’t recently read Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, I would dismiss this as a real career option. But my yet-to-meet-me-soul-sister has made quite a living from it.
If it’s possible, My Girl is a party-planning prodigy. She’s been throwing parties for us ever since she found out where I store the party streamers. I blame B. Swift because the streamers came out in full force when I threw her an 80s-themed birthday party.
Since that time, My Girl has thrown a party for the following occasions: for my birthday (complete with a decorated Mr. Darcy, see here), when Jane returned from visiting her grandma for the weekend, to celebrate the second Tuesday of February, to welcome me home from work on a Monday, because the day ended with a Y, for winter solstice, because it was rib night (eating ribs in our house is a big deal). I think you get the idea.
While she doesn’t really need a reason to put together a party, she does throw a hell of a good one.
Often, her parties have a theme. Once it was a carnival theme where she made funnel cakes and snow cones out of construction paper and somehow convinced my 3YO nephew and Papa Troublemaker to enter the party as stomping elephants.
These parties always have refreshments. She usually has water with tiki umbrellas in the cups to add flair. When the party is in my honor, she prepares a smorgasbord of caramel M’n’Ms, white cheddar popcorn and Starburst jellybeans. Oh, how My Girl knows me.
And there are usually games. Often made-up games like Limon Says, which is similar to Simon Says but Limon first starts with: “Limon says if you are wearing green, hop like a baby bunny.” See the difference? It’s subtle.
Lastly, the decorating… Oh the decorating. Like I said, she knows where the streamers and balloons are. When we moved, I thought I had hidden them well in the basement, but alas, she sniffed them out like a coon dog. I rue the day that she discovered she had enough hot air to blow up her own balloons, though I’m not surprised. She also puts her artistic abilities to good use with posters and signs. And lately, she’s involved the poor dog – thus, the P for Party that we encountered at the beginning of quarantine.
Disney+ and the crystal ball
So with all these choices available to her, what will My Girl choose?
I’d enlist a fortune teller because my impatience always gets the better of me, but maybe I should have a little more faith in My Girl. Though she’s only eight (so close to nine!!), she’s been consistent.
Though she’s had her ups and downs with animals (see here and here and here), My Girl has remained loyal to her dream of savings all the animals of the world. The particulars have changed from time to time, but the essence is the same.
She used to call her future career “wildlife conservationist” but it has very recently morphed into a vet. My Girl was adamantly against veterinary sciences because she equated that with helping dogs and cats. Booooorrrrrinnnnngggg – in her opinion.
But Secrets of the Zoo about the Columbus Zoo and its conservation and safari property The Wilds has opened My Girl up to the possibilities of life as a vet.
She’s always wanted to be the doc on hand to save animals. Unlike Jane – who told me she will care for the animal until the surgery begins, at which point, she will “leave the room” – My Girl is fascinated by the medical aspect of the job. But, like the wild animal she is, she spurned the idea of being caged in a zoo.
After a trip to south Florida last year, My Girl has been suffering from an identity crisis. She’s always wanted to live in the wild – probably Africa, possibly the rainforests of South America.
But then she saw how large some of the snakes in the Amazon can get, and while, not afraid of snakes, she is also not suicidal. So the rainforests of South America were crossed off her list of potential habitats.
Then our trip to the Everglades. I won’t argue that it was hot and humid and slightly miserable. I’ll only say slightly, because, like a mature adult, I can separate the sweltering heat from the fun time that we had. Because My Girl is neither mature nor an adult, she cannot.
I kept trying to get her out of her bad mood by reminding her that Africa will be just as hot. But with those words, My Girl’s dream of living in the savannah with her favorite peers of cheetahs, lions and zebras melted away like a 7YO in the heat and humidity of south Florida, which is to say, quickly, loudly and annoyingly. Well done, World’s Okayest Mom, well done.
Enter Disney+ and its collection of Secrets of the Zoo episodes. Not only did it bring Hamilton into our lives, for which I will be forever grateful, but it solved the problem that had been haunting My Girl for the last year.
From the aerial shots and when driving through The Wilds on a rugged Jeep, there’s no telling the difference between the acres of Ohio and rolling lands of Africa. Who knew?!
I pointed that out to My Girl. She could work at The Wilds, take care of the animals like she always dreamed, exist in the Midwestern climate she’s accustomed to, and remain within driving distance to her beloved momma. It’s a Disney princess kind of miracle!
And just like that, Disney once again saved the day. With magical powers like that, it makes complete sense to me that they continue to make money in a time where they are not producing movies nor selling any park tickets. But they are deciding My Girl’s future.
Where dreams come true indeed.