A few days ago, J had her pre-kindergarten graduation. I did not know the existence of such a thing until then. Watching the ceremony brought home how little the teachers who spent eight hours a day with my child understood her. I wondered if it was for their want of trying or if J had remained emotionally inaccessible to them.
When it was her turn to say what she wanted to be when she grew up, J said "When I grow up, I want to be an engineer". Later when we were home she told me "I said I want to be an engineer just for the graduation but I really want to be a doctor. I want to be able to fix people". She had no good answer for why her stated goal in life was different from the "real" one. Based on everything she offered by way of explanation it seems like she wants to keep her real dreams private.
I don't know whether to feel gratified that she shares what is closest to her heart with me or be concerned that she is already developing different private and public personas. To deny her the right to have dreams and thoughts that she does not want to share with the world would be quite unfair. I am almost sure none of her friends know that she loves jazz and detests Disney animation movies.
I hope I can tend her secret garden well so she always finds one place to unwind and be her real, natural self without needing to pretend, please or conform.