I try to limit the amount of stories I tell about my kids or my family, but I couldn’t hold this one back. This morning’s dialogue between my daughter and me made me realize I had to write this down. Sometimes the conversation is so poignant, it makes its own little story. I also decided to post a second conversation that took place between the two of us back in November. I want to remember these stories and her, in particular, at this age. She’s nine.
This morning my daughter and I were getting ready to go to school; she was heading to her elementary school to learn and I was heading to my university’s campus to teach. I was sitting at the kitchen table as she buttered her waffles. I was paying a couple of bills.
“I thought you said you had to grade some papers,” she said.
“I do,” I said. “I just have to pay these bills first.”
She stopped buttering for a moment and looked at me.
“What’s more important? Grading your papers or paying the bills?”
“Right now,” I said, “paying these two bills. They are due next week.”
“And we don’t want to lose our house,” she said.
I chuckled. I once told her that you have to pay your mortgage so the bank doesn’t come and take your house away. She remembered.
“Right,” I said. “We like a roof over our heads. That’s why you have to work hard, go to college, and get a good job when you grow up so you can afford these things.”
She paused for a moment, letting my words hang in the air and sink in.
“That’s too much for me to think about this morning,” she said.
My son was pretty ill back in November. We were on our seventh or eighth doctor visit, trying to figure out what was ailing him. I had picked my daughter up from piano lessons, and she knew we had to go directly from lessons to pick up my son and zoom off to the doctor. It was just the two of us in the car.
“So, we have to take Matt to the doctor?” she asked.
“Yes, we do.”
“Do you have to go to school to become a doctor?”
“Yes,” I said. “You have to go to college, then medical school. After that, you work in a hospital and then you become a doctor. Ms. Bari’s a doctor.”
“So, girls can be doctors?”
“Yes,” I said. “Girls can be anything they want to be.”
She thought for a moment.
“Just not priests, right?”