The other day, I went to the car to wake up my 4 year old daughter. She had gone with her dad to do some errands while I worked, and fell asleep on the way home.
As I approached, curled up in her small arms protectively was a box. Not just any box, but a new one from Target. It was a Play-Doh dentist kit.
I smiled to myself knowingly, because I knew what this meant to her.
A few days before this particular car trip, my sister had called and during the conversation, realized it was my son’s birthday coming up. She asked him what he wanted, and my daughter overheard. She asked her for a Play-Doh dentist kit as a gift for her. My sister laughed and continued to ask my son, you know — the one with the birthday coming up — what he wanted.
A week before that, my mom was headed to the store. She asked if we needed anything and of course, my daughter chimed in “a Play-Doh dentist kit!”. Unfortunately, my mom wasn’t going somewhere that sold that.
In both instances, my daughter didn’t press. It wasn’t like she was obsessed about this kit, she just happened to know it was something she wanted.
So the other day, when my husband was looking for activities that he and the kids could do during spring break while I worked and ended up at Target somehow, he asked my daughter, “Is there any activity you want?”
In his words, he said her eyes lit up and she squealed, making a beeline for the Play-Doh kits. She picked it up in triumph and placed it in the cart.
My daughter had clarity about what she wanted, made her intentions known, and when the opportunity finally presented itself, she seized it.
She came home with what she wanted.
It’s such a simple example, but it’s also not. Growing up, we start to identify with stories of accepting that we won’t get what we want, or lose our clarity on what exactly it is we want. Somewhere along the way, we lose hope.
I delight in the fact that she has the clarity and motivation to pursue what she wants. As she grows up, I will do what I can to continue to support her when the Play-Doh kit becomes something less tangible and will take longer to achieve than a few weeks. I can’t wait to see what else she’s able to accomplish with that level of clarity, intent, and patience for the right opportunity.