“Whatever you want to be, dear”, said Mum.
“But I want to know what I’ll be before I grow up”, said Johnson insistently.
“How can I know that?” thought Mum. “Let’s just see what happens!”, she thought.
“Well, you could be a carpenter”, said Mum.
“What’s a carpenter?”, asked Johnson.
“He makes cupboards and drawers and doors and windows out of wood”, replied Mum.
“Johnson is a very handy child, or will be one day”, thought Mum.
“That’s good. I like wood”, smiled Johnson. Then his face scrunched up as he thought hard.
“Johnson always thinks what I hadn’t thought of”, thought Mum. “What is it going to be this time?”
“But. But does he have to chop down trees. I don’t want to chop down trees”, Johnson cried stridently.
“How could he remember so far back when Dad cleared the house site? He was so little”, thought Mum.
“Carpenters don’t chop down trees. They just hammer and saw and nail.”
“Okay”, said Johnson,” I just don’t like trees being chopped down”.
“But doesn’t he remember that we planted so many to make up for the ones that were lost.”
Mum thought for a while, and said, “ Maybe you could plant trees instead”.
Johnson said, “Okay. I like digging and I helped Dad in the garden.”
Then he thought hard.
“Again. What is the surprise this time? Still its fun learning from him. And besides, he’s cute when he’s thinking!”
“Mum, how long do trees take to grow ?”
Mum said, “Years and years.”
Johnson said, “But how long really ?”
“There are so many different types of trees. Hmmm, how about a general figure?”, thought Mum. “After all Dad is the gardener isn’t he ? But ‘ask your father’ won’t work this time! Better answer the question as best I can now”.
Mum takes a deep breath, pauses and says, “ Forty or fifty years.”
Johnson replies, “As old as you?”
Mum says,”Nooo. As old as Daddy or even Grandpa”.
Johnson thinks some more and asks, “ But when I plant the tree and then I grow up, won’t I forget.”
The answer is faster than thought.
“No”, Mum said, “It’s just like having children. You always remember.”