Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Weight of (All the Places in) the World

‘I wonder what I will be when I grow up,’ mused the Bombshell from the backseat.

I glanced back at her in the rear view mirror. It was pyjama day at school and she was in her pink flannel PJs covered in perky little fairies. Dressed as she was she would make an excellent lazy uni student or Sarah-Marie wannabe but I wasn’t going to tell her that.

‘You’re lucky because you belong a generation of girls who can do whatever they want. When your grandmothers were going through school almost fifty years ago, girls were only allowed to be a teacher, a nurse or a secretary.’

‘What’s a secretary?’ she wanted to know.

We were driving past the building site of the new children’s hospital.

‘You could be an engineer and help design new hospitals,’ I said. ‘Or be a doctor to help the sick people.’

‘Or I could be a nurse like my friend’s Mum,’ she joined in.

‘Yep, or you could grow lovely gardens or be an artist and paint beautiful pictures…’ I continued.

‘To make the sick people happy?’, she wanted to know.

‘Absolutely,’ I said, happy with the way the conversation was going. Full points Shannon, I thought. I was covering all the bases, physical and mental, cerebral and artistic. There are so many ways I could screw her up, I didn’t want to start now by getting this conversation wrong.

She was nodding thoughtfully.

Suddenly I caught sight of a jet flying overhead.

‘Or you could be an airplane pilot and fly people all over the world,’ I said.

Sadly she shook her head. ‘That could be difficult,’ she told me.

‘Why?’ I asked, surprised that she thought there was something she couldn’t do.

‘Because I don’t know where all the places are.’

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