Every morning I corner my daughter in the bathroom so I can pull her long locks out of her eyes. On one of these mornings this past week, between her tears and my threats to shave her bald, she asked me. “How do I become a writer?”
Thrown off-balance by her odd question, I stumbled through an answer. “Well…um…it depends on what kind of writer you want to be. Why do you ask?”
Through the mirror’s reflection, she grimaced as I brushed one of the many knots her hair forms in the night then answered. “You’re a writer. I’m gonna be like you.”
That moment not only put a lump in my throat, but another rock of responsibility in my backpack of life. For years, I’ve known my children watch me. They pick up every bad habit I have and always seem to display it at the worst times. Example: My daughter, then two years old, saying Sh** loudly in the middle of church when she spilled her baggy of snacks. See—the worst times. But hearing her desire to emulate my career choice, showed me how much power I really have in my daughter’s life.
A power, as adults, we all have on the youth around us—even teenagers—though they will roll their eyes while reading this. We are whom these kids look to for direction. And I fully expect to hear my daughter tell me she hates me when we reach the teenage years, but I know the truth. I am her guide. It’s a weight I physically feel on my shoulders every day. I can only hope I won’t screw it up too badly.