Mami, what do you do?

The curiosity to understand our parents’ day jobs has begun, earlier for Jackie than it happened to me.

In first or second grade I had to tell my teacher what my parents did for a living, except my parents didn’t have standard jobs (policeman, teacher, doctor etc). My mom was a chemist working in a lab at a power plant, and my dad was a turbine operator in a different area of the same power plant. They both had regular exams testing their knowledge and responsiveness. Foolishly I wished their jobs were not as complicated to understand and explain to others.

One day Jackie came to me and asked “Mommy, what do you actually do?” to which I answered with a perplexed look “What do you mean?” She offered me examples, to help me understand better “Coco is baker, Rebeca is a teacher, Carmen is a doctor. What are you?”

This is how we start to scramble for an identity in front of our own preschool kids. Conrad was there and he helped. He said “Mami is the smartest person I know. She takes care of us and also handles the finances for Altmannhaus and Wanderlust. She is a business owner. And remember how she worked at Apple while we were in California this winter?”

Afterward I explained to Jackie what my passion is. I told her that I’m a writer, soon to a be a published author, and daddy is a graphic designer. She took in the information and said with goofy emphasis “Aha! Now I understand!”

I bet for a while things will still be confusing, and this struggle to wrap her mind around jobs, roles, identities, the struggle to understand and explain to others what her parents do, will cause her to ponder beyond superficial titles.

Last week though, as I was writing the menu on the black board in the kitchen, Jackie was eating her cereal, she looked at what I was doing, pondered for a moment and said: “Mami, you are such a good writer!”