Since the day she was born, The Girl has essentially been a mini-me in every way. Except for one Aunt on The Husband’s side who maintains she looks “exactly like Kevin” everyone sees my face when they look at her. She was blessed with giant, deep set King eyes but other than that, she has my physical features (even the teeth-poor kid).
What people don’t see, yet what I am painfully aware of, is that she shares a bit of my spirit. To the outside world she is bright and cheery. She is dramatic and easily fits in anywhere she goes.
But I have heard her struggles with confidence and they break my heart.
I know them intimately and I know what they are capable of keeping her from.
My Girl wants to act. She wants to sing and dance and act for crowds. She has already planned out a life as a waitress in New York as she is realistic about what a life in the theater might entail. And, she is good. I have literally been stopped by people who enthusiastically tell me I “MUST” get her into performing. On some level, she knows it. She has a light about her after every show she does that proves she knows she’s got something.
But when pushed, she will justify six way from Sunday why she “doesn’t want” to take classes or lessons or learn about the craft. I heard her tell her dad the other day that she was just fine with the way she does things so she doesn’t need to learn more. When we asked her if not learning meant she’d never have a future in the arts, she wasn’t sure how to answer. She just mumbled something and changed the subject.
Oh, man. Here we go again.
As a kid, I too wanted nothing more than to grow up and act for a living. When someone said to me, what do you want to do with your life, I’d answer, “Really do? Well, I really want to act in theaters but I’ll probably just be a (fill in the blank).” I was in a few plays and took a theater class in school but never I pushed myself to be more because I was scared. Scared that I wouldn’t be good or maybe scared that I would and what then? What if I was good and it wasn’t all I thought it would be? I was scared. So, I justified six ways from Sunday why I didn’t really want to do it.
What do I do now? When I see my girl, who I would do anything for, repeating what I view as my mistakes it hurts my heart. Do I push her beyond what I see is fear? Do I make her take classes or lessons or do I just leave her alone to discover herself? Perhaps she’ll learn the hard way about following her dreams. Perhaps she’ll learn earlier in life than I that nothing valuable comes without risk. Perhaps she’ll learn on her own to fight her fears and pursue who dreams. My life is near perfect except for this one decision and I want so badly to keep her from going down that same road. But is that my job? Or am I projecting too much on her and really I should let her be who she is, which in fact may not be a replica of me? We want nothing more than to protect our children. What happens when we are protecting them from being us?
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As a child, I was always worried about spending my parents money. I would look for the cheapest thing on the menu and hide applications for summer camp thinking they cost too much. Later my mother told me the cost less that a week of daycare. Could that be one of her worries?
As a parent, I keep on reminding myself – – it's not about me, it's about them… Helping them and supporting them in their decisions. Somewhere the motivation needs to come from within. But, kids can be lazy so pushing them, inspiring them, incenting them etc. can be effective. I have found this with all my kids but in the end they need our 100% love and acceptance for who they are. This has been really really hard for me on occasion especially now w/ 2 teen-agers.
As for me, I hope I am never too old to hit some early life goals when there's time down the road.
I think your children are a total blast and see you listening, guiding, supporting, role modelling. They have many blessings you as a mother top of the pile.
Aunt Julie says
Keep doing what your doing and she will be great. She watches you and her dad everyday trying new things, taking on new challenges with, what I'm sure looks to her, ease not fear. And she will always be a performer – its in her blood:)