Oh, dear Anne. I had yet another moment last night of realizing why Anne of Green Gables is the icon of life, love, girlhood, womanhood, and pretty much of everything of any significance.
I realized last night that I had held two ideals during my growing up years–ideals for my future life. One was the ideal of the wildly successful doctor, or lawyer, or professor, or just something very clever, maybe famous, and likely scientific. Maybe some fortune tossed in for good measure.
The other ideal was the Cheaper By the Dozen family, tons of kids sitting around the dinner table, getting into all sorts of interesting situations, all of the kids good friends and busy learning all kinds of things. Me busy teaching them about plants and bugs and numbers and baking lots of cookies for them and lots of their friends.
But everyone grows up–Anne and I both had to grow up. All Anne’s ideals of being a dramatic poet and marrying a dashingly handsome man who spoke often in dramatic poetry came crashing down when she hit the real world. Her dramatic poetry was only good for baking powder contests. Her dashingly handsome men, like most dashingly handsome men, proved to be nothing one could call ideal.
And so, I find myself looking to have neither a brilliant, impressive career of fame and fortune, nor the huge, boisterous family. Or do I have both? I’ve got a simple career that is usually interesting, at times meaningful, and pays money, and a little family with the most adorable little girl ever to be seen.
Will I ever have either of my ideals? Probably not. That made me sad when I thought about it last night; I had to mourn the loss of both of the childhood ideals.
But then I thought about Anne, and I realized–our grown up lives rarely end up like our childhood ideals, but… that’s okay. God knows what we need, and maybe it’s not the same as what we thought we needed. When we’re children dreaming up childhood ideals, we don’t really get how the world works, that it’s not as tidy and romantic as a book full of romantic poetry.
And which would you rather have—the “ideal”, dashing, romantic hero… or Gilbert?
I thought so.