We drive together, just the two of us, most of the time. I plead guilty of trying to do a million things behind the wheel—returning phone calls on my cell, lipstick at a stoplight, a dangerous reach for her snack so I can have some silence, sing-a-long to her favorite music or playing I-spy in between errands. I no longer have to listen to my inner voice, I have Ava, she reminds me often—“Mom, eyes on the road.”

Do you ever think about where your kids will be in twenty years? I try not to–most of the time. Only three years in and I already toy with the idea of what Ava will choose to be when she grows up. Sometimes I get a glimpse of her unique gifts and I imagine how she will use her compassion or already impressive negotiating skills, how influential will she become?

At 33 years of age, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve had many enriching experiences thus far in life but still feel it’s only training for something bigger. For a long time, the nagging sense of something more left me full of doubt. I didn’t plan on motherhood revealing it for me. Maybe it was my gained perspective, or the forced adjustment away from my career. Whatever it was, I’m grateful to be enlightened. I understand now how much more I have left to do—one decision or career path won’t define the rest of my life.

I’ve always told myself I would try to remember what it’s like. The day I became her mother, I promised Ava I’d try to maintain perspective—remembering when I was her age (of course this is prior to my experience with raising a teenager; this journal entry will be all the ammunition she will need to use against me in about ten years).

A wise, dear friend of mine said it best. Pam is a mother of six (this alone gives her notable credentials) and I will never forget when she shared her discovery–she could do anything and everything she wanted, just not all at once. Maybe it was just perfect timing, but this resonated with me. I began to believe everything was available to me too—when it was time.

In the coming years, what I choose not to do will become equally important as what I decide to take on. I recognize my greatest influence over Ava happens now, not later. In many ways I’m just the passenger on Ava’s journey, doing my best to keep her between the lines–wherever her destination.

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