My daughters, age 5 and 6, played host to a neighbourhood girl around their age the other day. She stayed for supper and I dished up spaghetti for them and let them eat it in our screened porch while I relaxed and watched Everybody Loves Raymond.
During the commercial break, I muted the TV as is my usual habit, and was delighted to overhear the following discussion between our guest and my eldest daughter:
Guest: "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Daughter: "A mommy."
Guest: "No, but what do you want to be?"
Daughter: "I want to be a mommy."
Guest: "No, everybody has to have a job to make money."
Daughter: "I don't need money. I have $8.64."
Daughter: "Yeah, let's go look at it."
From there the discussion frittered off in the typical meandering direction of prepubescent girls - it wasn't long before they were talking about princesses - but WOW. My daughter's aspiration mirrors her mother's at that age. I receive it as a point of pride to know that for my girls it's a perfectly normal thing to stay at home and squirt out babies, and especially to want to stick around while they grow up.
There are days when I wonder how my life would have gone differently if I had changed my mind on that park bench beside the Rideau Canal in Ottawa and not asked for my wife's hand in marriage. Would I have gone back to school? Would I have been hired on as a parliamentary aide to a right-wing MP from Saskatchewan and launched my own career into politics? Would I have explored a calling to the priesthood? Would I have regretted my decision not to pursue marriage with an elegant Dutch beauty?
On those days I am always drawn back to two things: the intimate relationship I share with my wife, and the wonder at seeing our children develop into thinking adults, all the way from the spark of the wedding night to our bittersweet parting on my deathbed. I had a part in making real people, and even after only a few years, it's been amazing. May God grant me the strength and the wisdom to continue down this path well.