I’ve grown up. A bit. I don’t know that I will ever achieve the status of “Grown-up” as it sat in my mind as a child. I don’t know that as a little girl I could conceive of who I would become. I thought I would transform into some other person. Another being. Like a butterfly emerging from her chrysalis. The truth didn’t occur to me until I was a mother and I watched my own daughter grow. Observed the individual she is and will be beginning to form, take shape, and grow. Only then could I realize there would be no magic transformation. There would be no grown up Cami. There would always just be Cami. Then, now, and in the future. Ever changing. Always learning. Always striving to be who I am. Not who I will be.
That said, I went through quite the list of things I wanted to be when I grew up.
Singer. Cat burglar. An exotic land’s long lost princess. Fairy. Veterinarian -until I realized there would be blood and guts involved. Dolphin trainer. Roller coaster tester. Actress. Teacher. My Aunt Sandy.
The last three on the list are all connected, and perhaps Fairy as well. My Aunt Sandy, or Aunt Sassy as I once called her when I had trouble with harder sounding consonants, has always been a source of inspiration to me. I remember watching her silly behavior, her caring nature, her zest for life, and her quick wit with awe as a child. I reveled in her tales of Shakespearean theater and adored that cat she handed down to my family both because she had once belonged to my aunt and because she’d named her Desdemona after the great beauty who eloped with Othello. No one else loved that damn cat. She was evil and spiteful and downright mean. But I loved her and dressed her up in bonnets and pretended to be her teacher, because that is what my favorite aunt was. A teacher. Not just to me, my cousins, and later her own beautiful daughters. But to class after class of lucky students.
I think, as much as I realize I won’t grow up to be someone else, I never let go of the last one on my list. My Aunt Sandy. To grow up and to retain the amount of caring, passion for life, and kindness to others – capped off with a truly wicked sense of humor – that she’s always displayed so admirably is a goal I will never let go.
Since today is her birthday, I thought it was the best time to say I still kind of want to be her when I grow up.
I love you, Aunt Sandy. Happy birthday!