I recently purchased a children’s picture book - for myself. Being Wendy by Fran Drescher. I admit; I was first intrigued by the title. There are only a few claims to fame for fellow Wendy’s: my name is said to have been invented by J. M. Barrie for his “frendy Wendy” character in Peter Pan, and I’ve got a hamburger fast food chain that shares my name.
When I was younger, I didn’t always like my name. A girl can only be teased about fast-food hamburgers and it being “windy outside and Wendy inside” so many times. As an adult, I still wish people pronounced my name with the short-e vowel sound, making it Wendy, instead of the short-i vowel sound, making it Windy. There is a difference.
Being Wendy is the story of Wendy, a girl who doesn’t want to choose to wear one box for the rest of her life. In her hometown, the rule is : “The Boxville way is to choose a box for the rest of your days.” She doesn’t want to just be a teacher, just be a police officer, just be any one thing. Her ideas and her dreams are too far-reaching, and one box just won’t work for her.
Lucky for Wendy, she’s got parents who believe in her and support her. (So do I).
“You’re a very special girl, Wendy,” said her dad. “You have a lot of different talents that make you you. And that’s a good thing! You should do anything and everything you want. We all should!”
Wendy and her parents ditch their boxes and move to Freedomland.
It’s not that easy for me.
As little-girl-Wendy, I knew I wanted to be an astronaut. I also knew there would be many other things I would do - I would travel and live abroad, I’d write, I’d learn to swing dance, I’d garden, I’d live by the ocean.
I changed, life happens, and as adult-Wendy, I feel like my world has closed in certain ways. I became a college student. A wife. A teacher. A writer. A mother. And as the years go by, and my to-do lists and number of responsibilities grow, the harder I’m finding it to be, or do, all the things I’d like to be and do.
Me, being the Wendy I am, I try to wear all my boxes at once. Mommy-wife-teacher-daughter-friend. Sometimes, I can juggle and do it all. Other times, I shortchange something in the process (usually myself - my sleep, my peace of mind, or both).
I bought this book as a reminder, a reaffirmation. I can’t be confined to just one box, and I shouldn’t be confined to just one box. Some days, it may feel like I wear one box more than another, but it doesn’t mean they’re not all still there, and all still a part of who I am as Wendy.