Where Did My Pirate Go?
What they never tell mommies is how much change hurts. They tell you to expect change. They even tell you to welcome it, but no one really talks about how once you get used to a thing, whether or not you believed in it or supported it at first, you miss it once it’s gone. I’m experiencing a sense of loss right now. I’m in mourning. I didn’t think I’d take the loss this hard, but I’m feeling quite troubled. And I’m troubled that it’s upsetting me so much.
So what, ladies and gentlemen, is bothering me?
My Pirate is gone. Well, not really gone, but my four-year-old spitfire has decided, quite all of a suddenly, that she no longer wants to be a pirate when she grows up. I’m not sure when the transformation took place or even why, but it’s happened, and she’s adamant that piracy is no longer her life’s ambition.
The high school teacher in me wants her to nail down a career path (or at least a few select paths) to help me tailor experiences to make her dreams come true, but the mommy in me wants the pirate back. It’s crazy. I knew that she wouldn’t grow up to be a pirate for real (I mean, we live in Chicago. What was she going to do? Sail around Lake Michigan looking for booty?), but I wasn’t ready to give up this chapter in her life just yet. I was looking forward to the swimming lessons and fencing lessons and eye patch decorating we would do in the coming years. I even considered taking her on a cruise, even though I’m deathly afraid of large bodies of water, just to see her face light up as she looked out over the ocean for the first time. What’s wrong with me?
I’ve been asking her routinely over the last few days, “Are you sure that you’re no longer a pirate?”
“I’m not a pirate anymore, Mommy,” she asserts too matter-of-factly.
“Don’t you like eye patches anymore?”
“I love eye patches, Mommy.”
“Don’t you like treasure chests?”
“I love treasure and treasure chests, Mommy.”
“But you still say you’re not a pirate?”
“I’m not a pirate anymore, Mommy!”
Okay, okay. I’ll acquiesce. I’ll let her leave her little girl aspiration on the shelf along with those toddler toys and baby board books.
“All right, Pir—I mean D. So tell me, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
“A princess like my sister.”
“Really? You want to be a princess.”
“Uh-huh. And a dare devil. Can I have a motorcycle and a ramp?”