Last night I went to my brother’s house to hear my niece read her sixth grade English report entitled ‘When I Grow Up’. I wasn’t sure why this rendition of composition English couldn’t have waited until the weekend when I actually had time to invest in the recitation but smiling and riveted I sat as my niece proudly began.
When I grow up I want to be just like my Aunt Christina. My Aunt Christina is smart and funny and isn’t afraid of anything. She lives with the animals she rescued from people who didn’t want them anymore and she works to pay for their food and she even goes to school for veterinarian nursing. She never listens to people who tell her she can’t do something and she can do anything and she even built a charity named after a blind pit bull called Irving House. She doesn’t have a husband and that worries Grandma but Aunt Christina doesn’t care because she has her animals. When I grow up I’m going to help her take care of the animals because I want to be just like my Aunt Christina.
When I was able to find my voice over the lump in my throat I asked my niece why? I didn’t bother to mention that everything aside from animals scares me, why mar the image? She said her teacher asked her the same thing and that I was the coolest person ever and she wanted to be cool just like me.
I asked her if I could have a copy of her report and I put it in a silver frame and hung it in my office. I’d never been one of the cool kids in school. I didn’t dress cool or act cool or do any of the things cool kids did, like ski or skate or smoke. I still don’t and for it I’ve been duly recognized …I’m finally cool.