Dream Big

The other night when nothing was on TV, I found myself watching the 1988 movie “Big.” First of all, how cute was Tom Hanks? And second, how horrible that his parents thought he was kidnapped all that time he was really living it up in NYC? (Even in my downtime, I’m still a mom!) But that’s beside the point.

In the movie, if you recall, Hanks’ character lucks into a dream job as a product developer for a toy company. Of course, they don’t know he’s really a 13-year-old boy in a 30-year-old’s body, but that’s not the point either.

The point I’m trying to make is that he finds success, happiness and even a girlfriend, simply by being himself. Is that a great message or what?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve struggled with what to do with my life. I certainly did not know at age 13 that I wanted to be a freelance writer. I distinctly remember the day my friend Tracy DID announce on the school bus that she was going to be a freelance writer when she grew up, because I had no idea what that meant. I probably intended to look it up later, but got too busy applying my Bonne Bell lip gloss and worrying whether my bangs were big enough.

Anyway, my career path has been a long and circuitous route, to say the least. It’s always felt like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It never seemed like my talents matched up to what employers were looking for. But Tom Hanks got me thinking: if someone WAS willing to give me a big, fat paycheck to do whatever I wanted, what would it be? I’ve got some ideas.

Entertainment consultant. I read about this ex-Marine who is a military consultant to the TV and movie industry. Basically, he goes to the set and tells them what wars and army bases and stuff should really look and sound like in real life, not Hollywood’s idea of military life.

I would like to be a “motherhood consultant.” I would tell producers and directors what life with kids is REALLY like. For instance, there would be more than a single baby bottle on the counter to signify an infant in the house. And most moms certainly do not gallivant around in full makeup and stylish, body-conscious clothes at all times. Also, most of us do not suddenly go into labor and give birth in the time it takes to sing “Bohemian Rhapsody” (6 min., I Googled it) like Quinn Fabray on the season finale of “Glee.” Just saying.

Children’s book consultant. I don’t really want to be an editor (that’s far too much like real work!) but I would like to work with authors and publishers to help them tailor their books to real kids. For instance, they should never use the word “pooped” to mean tired. You’re just ASKING for potty-talk.

And what’s with the delicate pop-ups and lift-the-flaps for the under-3 set? Those books are destroyed in MINUTES. Also, beware of incongruous illustrations that don’t relate to the story. In one of my sons’ books, there’s a random snake on a beach – a detail which never goes unnoticed, not even on the 117th reading.

O magazine columnist. But why stray too far from my writer roots? Writing’s really what I love to do best. So I propose that O magazine should make me a columnist. I’ve been reading it for years, and I think I share O’s mission of helping women -- moms especially – accept and embrace their true selves, fulfill their potential, and find happiness. And a cute pair of shoes.

Oprah’s always saying that motherhood’s the hardest job there is, right? Well, I have the war stories to prove it, and I’d package each one neatly with an inspirational message about what the experience has taught me and how others might look at their own lives differently.

For instance, getting out the door in the morning with a small child who operates at an excruciatingly sluggish pace is a reminder to slow down and live in the moment.

Oh, who am I kidding? It’s a lesson in patience, the supply of which required for parenthood would tax even the Dalai Lama himself. But what was I saying again? Oh, right. Be true to yourself and success will follow. It worked for Tom Hanks, anyway.

LINK O’ THE WEEK: I’ve gotta give props to fellow blogger Stephanie Stearns, aka @MinkyMoo. In addition to “Big,” it was a vlog on her new and improved DialMforMinky.com that got me thinking about this topic. This girl needs to be on TV, don’t you agree?


Melissa_Rae said...

This is great! I discovered your blog after my husband read me your article in the Smithsonian. I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your writing and from this post I think you'd be great at all those jobs. :) Now we just need to find that genie game...

Adrienne Gomer said...

all great ideas! can i have whichever job you don't take? I was actually yelling at the TV last night for the entire 6 minutes of Bohemian Rhapsody saying "THAT IS NOT WHAT LABOR IS LIKE! IT NEVER HAPPENS LIKE THAT!" while my husband rolled his eyes. I also remember you commenting on Modern Family and how unrealistic Lily is. It seems like a lot of TV shows have invisible or silent babies. Like on Brother's and Sisters, Calista Flockhart is NEVER with her baby. It's just rediculous.

Joy said...

Love this post!

Melinda Leigh said...

While I too rolled my eyes at the length of time it took her to deliver her baby, I also found myself tearing up in a "yay, a baby" way. Also- keep meaning to write you about Tori & Dean- you watch, right? Is it wrong that that show makes me want to have a second?!?

kate @sweet cricket stationery said...

ahhh! I love Tom Hanks! My all time favorite movie is "the Burbs". Pure genious :)

angie mizzell said...

I've spent 35 years trying to figure out what I'm going to be when I grow up. So far, writer suits me best, and I think I've known that all along. You get my vote for O columnist!

ps- can you tell I'm catching up on my blog reading today? :)

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