A common enough question among the soon-to-be-a-college-graduate crowd, or the older-second-career groups. A coworker of mine, who might consider herself part of the former, posed this to me after lunch today. And when asked of me, who fits into neither, a barely my-life-is-on-track-twenty-something, I'm stunned into silence.
This morning during a toddler/Preschool program, while I'm dancing and singing away in front of 50-some infantpeople and their parents, one of them, an adorable little girl with purple ribbons wrapped around her pigtails, becomes enamored. She stands right at my feet; not copying my movements, but rather watching them, smiling up with wonder and something else. A few more songs and her mom comes to rescue me from the taps of little hands on my thighs and possible trampling that we have both thus far escaped. But she appears again. While I'm speaking in a sing-song voice, introducing them to the wonderful word "SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPEALIDOCIOUS," the little hands are back, this time reaching for my hands and finding their way into my heart. "She loves you! She won't stay with me at all!" Her mother tells me at the end.
I only realize now, hours after both the girl and her mother are gone, and the time for answering the question has passed, that I now the answer. I want to be a mother.
So badly. The past two years I've pushed this aside in the name of service, in the name of duty, in the name of ambition. Telling myself I'm too young, I have plenty of time. But when I connect the two, I know that all I wanted to do was to scoop that little girl up and swing her around and make her giggle and smile and sing and all kinds of other wonderful, kid things.
For the rest of my life.