Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Girl From Paraguay

My husband tells me after dinner that our 12-year-old said the strangest thing in the car. He said, "Mommy and I talked about what I want to be when I grow up. It's all settled."

"Really? What?" he asked.

"I'm going to be from Paraguay."

"That's what you want to be when you grow up? You and Mommy decided?"


This makes perfect sense to me, of course. Earlier that day, we were outside together watching the baby while my 12-year-old was spinning a very long piece of PVC piping -- cheap toy. I asked him how the new girl in his class from Paraguay was doing.

He said, "She's from Hungary."

I said, "That's what I meant."

He said, with real admiration, "She's doing great!"

He seemed really impressed with the girl from Hungary whom I call the girl from Paraguay. And so I said, "You know if you put your mind to it and study really hard, you could be from Paraguay one day."

He looked at me. "You mean if I studied really hard how to fake birth certificates?"

I grabbed him and gave him a big hug and whispered to him, "This is America, son. If you put your mind to it, you can be anything you want to be!"

And then we both looked at each other earnestly, and he said, "Thanks, Mom. It means a lot that you believe in me."

I explained all of this to my husband, and he said, "Ah, of course. Got it. Perfect sense." He paused. "Was it a beautiful moment?"

"It was, and I think he has real promise."

"Me, too."