“But they say that 7th grade is the most important year – it’s the year that all the high schools will look at to decide if they want to let you in,” lamented The Girl after struggling with a math problem.
Really? It’s high school. I know we have a few programs here in our neck of the woods that you have to apply to or test into, but I think it’s safe to say that high school is a sure thing.
“I’m worried about my future,” she went on.
She is 12 years old. 12. Not even a teenager. When I was 12, you know what I wanted to be?
Mary Tyler Moore.
She was single, a TV producer, had her own apartment & had that large “M” on the wall. I considered putting a large “L” on my wall but then Laverne & Shirley came along & I hated those giant “L”s that Laverne wore on everything. So scrap that. Although I did spend the first part of my career as a film producer so at least I accomplished that part.
When I was 12, you know what I worried about? Whether or not Brad Bowman liked me (I still don’t know). And whether or not Peter Hill would go to the dance with me (he wouldn’t).
The Girl apparently has to worry about getting into high school. She has to worry about the kids in her group who act up & get them all punished. She has to worry about LJ asking her to be Locker Buddies & if she goes to the dance with Corey, will Stephen be mad & she has to walk home with her annoying little brother & let themselves in the house & text mom that they’re home & empty the dishwasher or mom won’t make dinner & why is the cat always under her bed?
There’s a lot going on in that head of hers.
So here’s an open letter to my Girl that will hopefully help her relax a bit about her future endeavors:
Dear Lu (It’s a long story but she answers to it & that’s all that counts) –
You don’t have to be the President or cure cancer. You don’t have to become a rocket scientist or a doctor or a lawyer or even a veterinarian – although I think you’d be great at that because you love animals. I remember when you rescued that bee & brought him home. I didn’t have the heart to tell you that you probably took him far, far away from his hive.
What you do have to do is be happy.
And if you can pay the bills doing what makes you happy, then you win.
If tap dancing in the streets makes you happy & pays the bills, then dance away. If wrangling alligators in the Everglades makes you happy & pays the bills, wrangle away.
I promise you, you will go to high school. After that… well, it’s kind of up to you.
If you want to go to college, go for it. Just make sure you have an idea of what you want to study & what you’re planning on getting out of it. Because if you leave four years of college & still don’t know what you want or what makes you happy…. well, good luck paying off those student loans. Because there will be student loans.
If you want to go learn how to tap dance, or wrestle alligators or cut hair or tame lions – go do that.
And maybe you’ll end up doing all of those things. Because believe me, life can take you in funny directions. If you had told me back when I was producing that I would one day be managing a slew of departments at a major retailer, I would have laughed at you. Or hit you. I was very volatile back then.
I have been a producer, I have been a PR flak shilling news out to any reporter who would listen to what my clients had to say. I have been a full-time mom & homemaker (what DO you do all day?) & now I’m in retail.
What I’m trying to say is, relax. Your future will unfold exactly how it’s supposed to. It will be maddeningly slow at times & at others it will speed along dizzily.
Go with it.
You can plan all you want. And let’s face it, if you’re anything like your dad, Plan B doesn’t go far enough… you’ll have a Plan H. But in the end, just know that you are always exactly where you’re supposed to be. And know too that sometimes where you are will suck. But getting through the sucky parts makes the good parts that much better.
I love you forever & ever.
PS – Here’s one of your favorite songs. And no, I don’t think your former Catholic school would have let you sing this in the talent show. But I love that you wanted to. It’s part of what makes you extraordinary.
And while we’re at it… I know you hate this picture of yourself, but what I see here is an extraordinary young woman who I am very proud of.