A book of childhood memories

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There's a book my mom kept for all three of her children. In it she'd detailed our dreams, our childhood aspirations and hilarious quotations from our growing years. It's a treasure trove of memories and I'll never quite be able to express how grateful I am for this book.

Beyond the cute quotations and hilarious outbursts of occasionally apt situational summations, there's a list for all three of us. This list details what we wanted to be when we grew up, ordered by age.

A child's ambitions

It's interesting to me though, that she lists our dreams not as career options we've considered, but as ambitions. There's a whole set of thinking behind that little heading on our respective pages, and it all came down to how my parents raised us.

If I take a quick meander over at my list of ambitions, it's obvious to me that, from quite young, I upheld the ideal of having a family. I clearly found hairdressing a fascinating trade at one point, and I toyed with the idea of being a nurse.

As I approached the teenage years though, I clearly wanted fame. I suspect that most of that revolves around the fact that your teenage years are spent looking for idols, listening to some rather awful pop music and sticking large posters of people on your walls. The last entry on my ambitions page speaks well to me. It says: Be a writer, no plastic surgery - age 17. Absolutely nothing has changed in 15 years.

My point here is, it didn't matter what I said I wanted to be, my folks supported it, encouraged it and upheld it. So, yes, when one of us confidently claimed that they wanted to be a pixie at age three, my parents didn't laugh. They smiled, wrote it down and let us loose to hone our flying skills in the garden.

I hope I'm like this with my daughter. When she told me one evening over hot chocolate, that she'd like to be a teacher in the morning, a ballet instructor in the afternoons and a policewoman at night, I applauded her. I wasn't about to throw reality in her face and demand that she choose one option. Over the years, she's wanted to be a magician, a doctor and - of course! - a princess.

I wanted to be a princess once too. It says in this little book, Princess - age 4. And I remember my mum responding by saying, "What would your castle look like?"

I'm never going to care what my child wants to be when she grows up, but I do want her to know that I'll be there, picking paint samples for her castle if she ever does become a princess.

Do you keep a book of childhood memories for your children?

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