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Doctor Dreams on Ice: When I Grow Up

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I once had a teacher who asked the class to cut clouds out of construction paper and write down what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wrote each letter carefully, not wanting messiness or misspellings. “To be a pediatrician,” my cloud stated boldly. (Unfortunately, I hadn’t learned about the evils of fragments yet.) 


I chose it because … well, I don’t remember why. I suspect The Babysitters’ Club book series was an influence, since the babysitters’ favorite charge, Charlotte, had a mom who was a pediatrician and that sounded awfully impressive. When other grown-ups asked me about my future ambitions, it was my go-to response. I even had answers for tough questions like “What about giving kids shots?” My response: “I’ll make the nurses do it.” (I was thinking like a doctor already!) 


However, taking temperatures and requesting prescriptions weren’t what filled my daydreams. As with the kids in my class who had aspirations such as “cowboy,” “astronaut,” and “princess,” my true fantasy career—the one I was too shy to tell a soul about—was much less practical. I wanted to be a figure skater, despite having never set foot in an ice rink. Whenever my mom and I watched ice-skating competitions and I’d see the skaters flying through the air and twirling in a flash of sequins and lace, it inspired countless skating routines that I practiced in my head … okay, and in my room behind closed doors. 


Sadly, even back then, I assumed that such a life wasn’t in my future. I guess there really are born pragmatists. But maybe there’s hope yet. Winter’s around the corner; it could be time to rent ice skates and channel my inner Kristi Yamaguchi, even if it’s just for an hour or so. 


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