Some people know what they want from life at an early age. Some people spend a lifetime figuring it out. I would fall into the latter. I always knew I wanted to write, but I never took any initiative to bring that to fruition until I was in my 40′s. My daughter, on the other hand, was ready for her close-up when she came out of the womb. She made her interests and goals known before she started to speak. A singer, actress, writer, and photographer has been in the making now for 18 years, and last night she wowed a sold-out crowd with her performance as Marty Maraschino in Grease.
Here I am, one who has always had a fear of public speaking. The first time I held a PTA meeting, I had a nervous shake and felt dizzy. How then did I raise a child to belt out a tune in front of a few hundred people without blinking an eye?
I think the answer is, I didn’t. I have always let my kids be themselves. I never forced them into a sport or a program that they didn’t want to do. They never had their time scheduled out for them. My husband and I always told them, “Do what makes you happy, and whatever you choose, it will make us proud.” Sure, there were times when they really, realllly wanted to sign up for something and decided later they didn’t want to do it anymore… but our one rule was: If you start something, you have to see it through; if you are part of a team, you must do your best and be part of the team til the end. I think that’s a valuable lesson on commitment and community.
I’ve sat through many musicals and school plays over the years, but last night it all came together for me. Memories of her preschool recitals, and a curly haired, four year old, Irish dancer flooded my mind. All the clips we have of her singing through the years, nudging her big sister out of the way to be better positioned in the home video, and uninhibited when displaying her talents.
My heart is bursting with joy for the individual she has become; she’s always known who she is — and that fascinates me. I also think there’s a lesson here: One day you will have your solo. Be ready to shine.