Just Like You

Last week, she wanted to be a doctor. You came home and found flower print Band-Aid’s wrapped around the legs of her stuffed animals. She clutched Miss Bear to her chest and looked up at you with worried eyes, asking, “do you think I made them better?”

Of course.

That’s what you told her.

Of course you made them better. Of course you’re doing great.

Two days later, the plastic stethoscope was exchanged for a white chef’s hat and a red plastic spatula that she dug out of the kitchen drawer. “I’m going to be the best chef in the world!”

Kami Ray Family Portraits

Of course.

That’s what you told her.

Of course. Anything that you set your mind too, honey.

Soggy cereal quickly gave way to glitter gel pens and notebooks. She scratches out lessons in a language that isn’t really English. “I’m going to be a teacher, ‘cause everyone needs to learn new things.”

Kami Ray Family Portraits

Of course.

That’s what you will always tell her.

Of course. You’re the smartest little girl I know. Anyone will be happy to have you as their teacher.

   But even that doesn’t last for long. She changes her dreams just as quickly as you change her clothing; this ever flowing stream of inspirations, aspirations, and fixations.

Today, she comes running up to you in her favorite flower print jacket and the red polka dot shirt that she insisted on picking out all on her own. “I want to be just like you,” she says, wrapping her arms around your waist. “Because you do all those other things that I wanted to be!”

Your heart soars.

Kami Ray Family Portraits

Of course.

That’s what you’ve always said before.

Today, the words get caught up in your throat.

Of course just doesn’t seem like enough. To know that your little baby girl wants to be like you – no matter how fleeting the thought, no matter how quickly she changes her mind – it’s the greatest gift you could have been given.

When you don’t say anything, she leans backwards and stares up at you with those  baby blues of hers. She’s young enough that the ways of the world haven’t tainted her eyes, face still full as any other child. “Is that okay?”

“Oh, honey.” You still don’t know what to say, and so you just scoop her up into your arms. “That’s a perfect thing to hope for, baby girl. You’re going to be a great mother one day.”

Kami Ray Family Portraits

She asks, “great as you?”

You bury a hand in her soft curls. “Of course. Of course you’re going to be the best mother that anyone could ask for.”

“I’m learning from you,” she says, right before she presses a sloppy kiss against the side of your face.

Tomorrow might be different. A week from now, and her mind will certainly change.

But for now – for now she wants to be just like you.
Written by Katelynn E Koontz

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