When I Grow Up

What do you want to be when you grow up?

How many times do you think we answer that question from the time we can talk until real life hits and we have to pick a major (or switch majors a couple of times) in college?

The first thing I remember wanting to be “when I grow up” is an architect.

I had this book where I was encouraged to use my imagination. On one of the books pages, there was a hill drawn in black and white. The instructions said that I was to use my imagination and draw my house underground in the hill — sort of like a groundhog or a chipmunk. The page in the book sort of gave you a cross section view of the blank hill that I was to fill in. I first drew this elaborate 5 story home in my little underground hill. Every time we would go to a restaurant that gave my crayons and had paper on the table, I would draw another home in a hill. The homes got more elaborate each time with elevators and sky lights and all the fixings. My mom would tear off the paper before we’d leave the restaurant so I could keep my newest drawing of my hill house. I had a collection of homes in hills. And that is what I was going to be when I grew up — an architect who built homes in hills. 

Then I was going to be a doctor.

I was going to be a doctor even when I got into high school. That was until my mom passed out in my kitchen and I had to call 911. It was my scariest experience ever, and I realized medicine was not for me. 

I decided on law in my late high school years and I carried that through. I am the proud owner of a law degree, and the law runs deep in my blood. There are more lawyers than sensible people in my family. 

I will always be a lawyer.

No one can take that away from me unless I lose my mind and get in trouble with the Attorney Disciplinary Board. 

But, being a lawyer is not what I have grown up to be. 

Early this week, when we had just finished the sprint that is the 7 o’clock hour to get my 3 year old fed, dressed, and out of the door with my husband, I sat down to drink my coffee and rock my 5 week old. 

It hit me — this is what I have always wanted to be when I grow up, and I am doing it.

I rocked and patted and admired and smelled his sweet newborn smell. And I realized that all of my dreams have come true.

As I rocked my baby, I reflected on my childhood. 

Once a baby hog, always a baby hog. 

I was labeled the family baby hog by my cousin Michelle very early in my life. I am a bit younger than my siblings and cousins, as my mom had me when she was 40. So, when my cousins and brothers started having babies, I was young. And I loved to hold the babies — all the babies. Holding babies was my favorite part of every holiday. I am 30 and some of my first babies are graduating college!

I played babies. 

Y’all, I played babies far longer than I should have been playing babies. You can ask Hollie, Kily, and a few other of my grade school besties. They indulged me and played babies with me into junior high but we all knew we were too old for it. But, my imagination took me to the day that I would hold my own baby, feed that baby, have all the cool baby gear, and stroll Target with baby in tow. 

As long as I am living, your mama I’ll be.

One of the greatest feelings and memories in my life is when my husband and I agreed to be open to it — to start trying. It was as if my dream could possibly be a reality. And we struggled. You can read about that here and here

But, as I rocked my precious newborn earlier this week, I realized that I had made it. This was it. This is what I am made to do. I am certainly not the best mama in the World and my gosh I have a lot to learn. But being the best is not what I dreamed of being. I just dreamed of being a mama. 

I did not have to study for years or walk across the stage and turn my tassel to get this job. My body, instead of my brain, has had to do the heavy lifting to get this “degree.” But we did it. 

I wanted to be a mama when I grow up, and here I am. 

Rebecca Autin
Rebecca is an attorney by day and a toddler wrangler by night. She is a product of divorced parents and grew up in both Thibodaux and Franklin, Louisiana. Rebecca attended Loyola University of New Orleans and Southern University Law Center. Rebecca married her high school bestie in 2012. Quinton and Rebecca went through months of infertility before giving birth to Maxwell Lincoln in 2015. In 2016, they were surprised by a baby boy due in June 2017. But, in February 2017, they suffered with incompetent cervix and delivered sweet Theodore Paul too soon. In October 2018, after an incredibly difficult pregnancy, a cerclage, and a whole bunch of bedrest, Fitzgerald Joseph was born -- a happy, healthy, and perfect rainbow. If you can't find Rebecca, you can summon her with pot of freshly brewed coffee or look for her in Target or behind the kitchen island where she is hiding from her kids with a very generous pour of red.