One of my favorite things about being a Mom is watching my boys find the things that make them truly happy…the things that light a little spark inside of them, and then watching that spark turn into a passion and a fire that they feel deep down in their soul. I’ve been lucky, because my guys seem to have each found something that they love to do…something that they keep doing because, for whatever reason, it is so vital to them that they can’t NOT do it. In our home, at this moment in time, the breakdown is something like this. Grant, my youngest, has happy feet–can’t stop dancing, running, jumping. He has 5 years of dance classes under his belt at the tender age of 11, and although he plays football, and wants to add basketball and baseball to his list, he tells me those sports are “only the appetizer, dance is still the main course.” Aaron is 15, and he is also all about performing. He sings, he acts, he dreams of movies and television and stage. And he doesn’t just dream about it, he really works at it. He’ll audition for anything, take the smallest role and work it with everything he’s got. He practices, studies, takes classes. And when I see him performing on the stage, I can see that he is happy. Max, at 17, prefers to stay out of the limelight, but is no less passionate about the things that are important to him. A quiet, but avid activist, Max is the first to volunteer for something that could improve the life of another; whether it is teaching children, heading to Appalachia to improve homes, lending a helping hand in New Orleans, or doing a task for me at home. Even as a little boy, he would get so angry about injustice and inequality–even if he was on the winning end of the stick. He questions the status quo, speaks out against intolerance and prejudice, and truly believes that we can BE better, DO better, LIVE better. Zach, my oldest at 20, has a real passion for music. Back in the day, when he would do crazy things like cut school, it wasn’t to hang with friends or get into mischief. He would come home and practice that guitar for hours and hours and hours, racing home to it like it was a Siren calling him to the sea. He practiced everyday, studied different styles, bought every instrument he could get his hands on…and telling him to put down the guitar would be like telling him to cut off his right arm.
Now, before I come off as THAT Mom…you know…the one who is convinced that her children are THE most beautiful, wonderful, talented, perfect, smartest, best thing since sliced bread, let me just say that I do TRY to keep my Mama Rose tendencies in check. It’s a difficult, fine line we parents walk when our children are passionate about something. As the Mother Hen, we want to protect them from criticism, hurt feelings, and rejection. We want them to always get the part, the lead, the gig, the job. We want to put them in a safe little bubble, where nothing can hurt them, where no one will challenge their opinions or destroy their confidence. BUT, we don’t do them any good when we tell them they are perfect at everything they do. So we try very hard to walk that line, reminding them to dance for the love of dance and to sing for the love of the song. Not to write a song with the hopes of winning an award, but because you have something to say–and lend a helping hand to those that are struggling and suffering through injustice and intolerance not because it’s the cause of the month, but because you know in your heart that it’s a wrong that needs to be made right. And we remind them again and again that if they really love it, to dig in and work hard and don’t take anything for granted.
I believe (in my crazy Mom mind) that is why my guys just do what they do…they sing and dance and act and write and speak out because they can’t help themselves. And Lord knows, their areas of interest do not necessarily lead to the most lucrative futures, but you know what, I would rather see them make a modest living doing what they love than make a fortune doing what they hate. I hope they always, always have the courage to chase their dreams!
*Ok, now the “Mama Rose” posting of the talent! Actually, Aaron just had a recital and he asked me to post these songs for his Grammie, especially his duet with his friend Marnie (whose voice is spectacular). I apologize for the video quality, the spotlights mess with the flip camera, but you get the idea! Aaron knows how much Grammie loves “Phantom of the Opera” and he also knows that she is not on facebook, but does read the blog. Actually, I think my wonderful and supportive Mother-in-Law is my biggest blog fan–how cool is that! So Grammie, get out the tissues, and have a seat–this is from Aaron for you!