from Appleblossom the Possum
by Holly Goldberg Sloan
illustrated by Gary A. Rosen
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015
My grandfather spoke a version of “Fake it till you make it.” Spoken from a self-made man who learned English as a second language and everything else about this country as a young man, I paid attention.
When I was little, my mom told me I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up. When I was little, I believed that. I think my mom believed it, too. Or at least I think she wanted to believe it.
My mom was a stay-at-home mom. She served as room mother for my brother and sister and me (not all at once, of course!). She volunteered at a hospital, answering their phones. She was my Girl Scout leader for six years, until the girls in our troop all went our separate ways. Then she trained new leaders. She knew how to give back.
But my mom didn’t get to be what she wanted to be. Mom wanted to be a professional, maybe a psychologist or an executive at a big company. She liked to be in charge and she was good at that. She worked as a secretary, mostly, but not until the three of us kids were grown up. She was a full-time mom.
I had lots of my own ideas about what to be when I grew up. I wanted to be an architect. Wouldn’t it be so cool to build a bridge? Then I found out that involved lots of math, not my best thing. I wanted to be a teacher, but I found out that involved controlling kids as much as teaching them. I wanted to be a famous author. I kinda still do. I’m finding out how hard it is to be a new voice in a world full of voices.
I never wanted to be a nurse. I have the highest respect for those professionals who deal with blood, sadness, fear and bodily fluids on a daily basis.
When I was little we all still thought a woman could become president someday. That was way before 1984, the first recorded use of “glass ceiling” (according to http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/glass%20ceiling).
Since then, I’ve seen strong women in powerful places. And strong women put in their places. It’s time to turn around (yet again) and put my best face toward whatever life puts in front of me. And look for unexpected opportunities. And work hard for my granddaughters’ futures.
I’m still wearing purple. Thanks, Sam!