“When I grow up…”

So many parents out there with special needs children write about their fears of what will happen to their children when they grow up. I want to write about something positive today. Something cute. Something funny. And charming. Not sad.

I remember asking my daughter Ally last year, What do you want to be when you grow up? She was three and proclaimed she was going to be a lollipop. I thought it was cute and we giggled.

Then, over the course of the year, she said she was going to be a doctor, a teacher, and a pony.

Sometimes I wonder if she understood the question. My husband and I often wonder if our daughter is just the product of impersonating YouTube videos and television shows, an echo in the hallway…it leads us to hope that maybe— she is a future actress? Or a future singer.

She has been singing since she was a month old.

Sometimes we get concerned that she might be using the coping mechanism of “complex echolalia.” But she’s so good at it that we can’t tell even if she does it. She holds conversations most of the time and only sometimes the red flags of misinterpretation go off.

For the past three weeks she has insisted that when she grows up, she is going to be an elf on the shelf just like our elf, Melody. She is going to sit on top of people’s Christmas trees and watch them and report back to Santa. Then, she will bring them little presents and leave them notes like a good little elf when she is not busy working in the workshop at the North pole.

She will sleep in stockings and make magical cookies.

She was so excited to talk about it that I could see she wasn’t acting. She was really having this conversation. And then she paused and was silent for a moment.

“Do you think Santa will like me?” She asked, seriously. I found myself encouraging this little dream.

“Of course, Ally. Santa loves you!”

Luckily for us, her answer has since morphed into becoming the Sugar Plum Fairy (whatever that is), a hostess at Applebees, and owning an ice cream shop where she plans to sell cones and t-shirts.

We’re definitely headed in the right direction for ambitions. Where will she end up? Who knows. Last night she said, a dental hygienist.

But if she legitimately decides to be an Elf when she grows up, it looks like I’ll be retiring at the North Pole. At the very least, we’ll visit often.

I’m not sure what the future brings, but today I can dream that she will become an elf.

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