By Claire Enos
As kids, moving every year or two, my sisters and I grew close. This was before my brothers were born, when all of us were under the age of 8. We played house, like I'm sure many of those my age or older did as children. We were always the same characters. At the age of 7 or 8, I was always the rebellious teenager, who snuck out and drove cars and moved out on her own as soon as she turned 18. My sister, who must have been around 5 or 6 at the time, would always play the mom, with a babydoll as her baby. She was good at it, and she always looked forward to being that. Being a mother. Raising her own children. My youngest sister, maybe 2 or 3 at the time, was always the pet. We didn't grow up around animals, so it was new and exciting having an animal. She'd always play a dog or a cat.
As we got older our roles changed. When I was about 10 or 11, we were living with my cousins in Oregon. My cousin, only a couple days older than me, and I decided we wanted to be teachers, so we set up a "school" with our siblings and gave them homework and taught them how to do cheerleading. I always wanted to be a cheerleader, and my cousin did as well. We would teach them cheers and math and have them write stories.
Curiously, these roles that we played tell so much more than any random quiz on facebook could about our true natures. My sister, the one who played the mother, she always wanted children of her own. She is very nurturing, always looking for the good in others. She has all the traits of a good mother. She's patient and kind, but she's also firm with kids. And kids love her, a lot.
My youngest sister loves animals. She now has two dogs, and a parakeet. The fact that she is allergic to animals doesn't phase her. She just takes the shot every week and continues on as if nothing is wrong. When she graduates from high school, she wants to go to school to become a veterinarian, and knowing her she'll succeed.
My cousin, the one who is only a couple days older than me, she loves kids as well. She wants to be a mother, but she also loves taking care of other people's kids as well, so she started a daycare. She babysits kids in her home most days while their parents are at work. She will be getting married later this year and hopes to have kids of her own within a few years from now.
Then there's me. I'm a writer. I struggle each day to force myself to sit down and write. We're pretty sure I have ADD, because I have trouble concentrating on anything for very long. I'm easily distracted and my grades sometimes suffer for this. I was never very rebellious, at least not in the way many teenagers appear to be. My parents trusted me not to go out and do anything I would regret later, and I didn't. So, what do my childhood roles say about me? That I can be anything I want, and I've always known that? That I'm not afraid to be whoever I want to be? I have so many dreams, all of which I want to accomplish, and maybe one day I will. For now, my characters can live out my dreams for me. Maybe that's what my child like self was trying to tell me. I can be whoever I want to be. And while I'm at it, I always have my best friends, my cousins and my sisters and brothers here with me, cheering me on. I know I've always got a friend in them.