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Abbie Rumbach Headshot

High Hopes

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A lot of scary, awful sh*t goes down in our minivan. There's yelling, there's arguing, there are sippy cups being thrown and oh, the complaining. It's too hot, too cold, we're never going to get there, my seat belt's too tight, the van smells bad... the list goes on and on.

In regards to the van smelling bad (yeah, I'd like to complain about that, too), I'm not sure what in the world the kids do in there, but they're gross and they make my van stink.

However, every now and then, the girls have actual conversations while we're cruising down the road, my favorite among them being "What are you going to be when you grow up?"

These conversations are so filled with hope and promise my heart nearly bursts. They are going to be dancers and singers and doctors and teachers and fashion designers. There is nothing out of reach. Nothing they can't do. Everything is possible. These are the conversations I try to burn into my memory so when I'm old, feeble and sitting alone in my nursing home, I'll be able to recall their tiny voices -- their tiny voices and big dreams.

Was there ever a time that I felt like this? A time where I felt I could do anything? If such a time existed, I can't remember having it, nor can I remember losing it, yet I miss having it; that feeling that I could be anything, do anything.

Long gone are the days of my childhood dream where I thought I could be an Olympic gymnast. That dream was crushed by my inability to throw my ass over my head in any sort of graceful way.

However, the girls' childhood dreams are alive and well, and on any given day, they can be anything.

Yesterday, however, Cameron grew anxious about her chosen profession as a fashion designer.

"What if I change my mind?" she said. "I wrote I was going to be a fashion designer on my paper at school, but is it OK if I change it later?"

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I assured her that she could change her mind. I told her that people evolve and their interests change and she could grow and change with them. I told her that I, myself, was still deciding what I wanted to "be" when I grew up. This blew her little mind.

"But Mommy, you're already sooooo old," she said.

Concerned about my career path, or lack thereof, Hadley offered a suggestion.

"Mom," she said. "I think you should be a waitress. Yes, a waitress. That would be a fun job."

Cameron said, "Oh Hadley. That is not a good job for Mommy. Mommy could not EVER handle that job."

Well, sh*t. I get it -- being a waitress is damn hard, but she's clearly missed the part of her life where I've waited on her nonstop for six years. Either that, or she really doesn't think I'm very good at it.

So, I'm left wondering: What will I "be"? What is my dream?

Is it possible I'm living it? I might be. Driving the smelly minivan down the road, listening to the girls dream out loud -- yes, this could be it. It's quite possible I've arrived at everything I've ever dreamed of and it smells like baby poop and has automatic sliding doors. Yet, dream big, girls. Mommy is counting on a super sweet nursing home.