Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Career counseling

Yesterday Charlie and I picked Mary Clare up from school, and then the three of us headed to Target to pick up some last-minute Valentine's Day items, plus some meds, because ugh, this is the virus that won't quit.

As we were sitting at a stoplight, Mary Clare spied a flag display featuring the U.S., Missouri and POW/MIA flags. After convincing her that the Missouri state flag was not, in fact, the flag of Mexico, she moved her focus to the black POW/MIA flag. I did my best to explain it. We have some good family friends and family members who served in Vietnam, Desert Storm and the Irag wars, so I could make it somewhat relatable by mentioning Carl, Uncle Beef and cousin Alexander. (Thankfully, none of them were POW/MIA, so I glossed over that part to a degree and said it was more to honor soldiers who were hurt trying to keep us safe.)

All of this soldier talk got Charlie riled up.

"When I grow up, I want to jump out of a helicopter! With a gun! And fight bad guys!" And then Charlie paused, and said in this slightly timid voice that completely broke my heart, "And Mary Clare, you will help me? Because I want you to help me."

To which his sister, ever the sensitive soul, responded, "No. I am going to be a cheerleader."

Yeah, let that sink in for a minute.

Undaunted as always, he persisted. "But Mary Clare, I really want to jump out of helicopters and fight bad guys, but I want you to help me, too."

Mary Clare responded, "I really want to be a cheerleader, Charlie." And then she added, "Mom, can girls even be soldiers? I know they can't fly helicopters."

Pause for me banging my head against the steering wheel, wondering where in the ever-loving world did I go wrong with her.

Eventually I regained my composure.

"Yes, Mary Clare. Of course girls can be soldiers. And yes, they definitely can fly helicopters," I said. "One of you cousin Alexander's friends is a girl who flies helicopters, and she flies the really huge helicopters that can carry a lot of soldiers and their equipment."

She seemed convinced. Charlie, of course, was completely on board.

"Yeah! And that is the kind of helicopter I am going to jump out of. With my gun!"

Mary Clare, however, was not to be swayed.

"I really want to be a cheerleader," she said, crossing her arms.

I almost started to tell her that cheerleaders can jump out of helicopters with guns, but thought better of it, because really, it's a sad day when that's the career you're pushing.

1 comment:

  1. This is the best post ever. Can we just tell her that she can cheer for Charlie as he jumps out of the helicopter with his guns? Not as a career, mind you, just as a kind of weekend gig while she gets fitted for her Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader outfit?

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