by Theresa Reichman
Most adolescents who roam the halls of junior high school are in the process of deciding who they are and what they want to be when they grow up.
They wielded their courses into a map that points them in the direction of their future life. The math nerds dream of blueprints and aerospace. The literary geeks envision themselves scrawling late into the night, a New York Times Best Seller sticker stamped smack dab in the middle of their bound and beautiful masterpiece. The jocks can practically feel the POP of the paparazzi’s camera as it flashes their faces almost instantly across the front page of the sports section. Some want to be teachers, doctors, and perhaps, among the throng of them are a few crazy kids who dream of landing themselves in the whirl wind that is the political arena.
In junior high, I fancied none of these futures. You see, in seventh grade, I read a book. Being one of the aforementioned literary geeks, I could not read a book without becoming utterly absorbed. So upon reading a romance novel about a girl with cancer who falls in love with an Amish boy, I knew exactly what I wanted to be one day.
I wanted to be Amish.
I wish I were joking, sincerely, I do. But I’m not. I recall sitting my mother down one night and telling her “The Plan”. “The Plan” went something like this: I turn 18, move to Lancaster, meet a nice Amish boy with wheat colored hair and one of those adorable accents where their “W”’s sound like “V”’s and they say harsh sounding words like “Ich” and “Und” but really they’re not harsh at all. Then we get married and I become Amish.
I will never forget my mother’s response. She never liked to burst my proverbial bubble, and in that manner she responded, “Just so long as you keep in touch!”
She bought me Amish cook books, fabric to quilt with, and even the movie Witness. (You know, the one where Harrison Ford is all sweaty and sexy while he raises barns and gulps down lemonade in front of his Amish girlfriend.)
One time, she and my dad even let me go to town digging up a good portion of our yard to start my own garden. I spent days churning soil, getting it just right, reading up about horticulture and the like. Then one day as I was gathering seeds for planting, I looked out the window to see a cat copping a squat in my freshly prepped garden. Yep, that’s right. A cat shit in my garden.
I didn’t want a garden anymore.
And so it goes: Aspirations fall to the wayside. Needless to say, the Amish thing never came to fruition. Instead of being 18-years-old and meeting a dutch boy with wheat colored hair, I was 15-years-old and met a German and Asian boy with hair the color of dark chocolate. Such is life.
I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up – and I’m learning quickly that neither does most of the adult populous. That’s okay.
This is what I know: I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am a mother, a writer, a seeker, a dreamer. I am capable. And I am discovering that my peace of mind rests less on what I will be, and more on who I already am.