...gonna be ok.
My firstborn turns ten next week and she is celebrating with a slumber party tomorrow night. Our family hasn’t decided quite yet how we are going to do big birthday parties. Lucy and Peter know they can’t have a major birthday bash each year (for myriad of reasons, one being that my anxiety can only handle that kind of expectation, expense and potential for disappointment every few years). However, ten seemed like a significant year to celebrate extravagantly. So, Lucy has been talking about and planning this party in her journal for months.
But every time she began talking about her party, she was stumped on a “theme.” She had been to a friend’s party last summer and it was an “American Idol” themed party complete with blue and black banners, paper plates, napkins, a photo booth and karaoke contest. Since then, Lucy thought it necessary to have a theme. So, one day, when she was dancing with the Wii, a lightbulb went off and she discovered that her tenth birthday party was going to be a “Just Dance” party. She bellowed that it was the perfect idea because she loves to dance and sing. She went on to tell me that when she grows up, she wants to be a dancer, a singer, or a choreographer. I knew that particular moment was not the right time to curb her enthusiasm. It was not the time to inform her that if she wanted to be a professional dancer, she should have started dance lessons seven years ago, or that not everyone sings on YouTube and gets famous, or that being a triple threat like singer, dancer, and choreographer Paula Abdul is rare. And yet, I couldn’t completely help myself and said, “Lucy, if you want to be a dancer, you have to practice, like all the time.” She looked at me with incredulity and bent over so her face was very close to mine and said, “Mom!? Haven’t you seen me? Watch this!” to which she proceeded to do her personally choreographed moves to the Kidz Bop song that was on replay.
Truth be told, she does dance and sing all. the. time (another reason why a minivan would be handy, she could sit in the back row and sing loudly while not being right behind my head when I drive in our very small sedan). And yet, I didn’t champion her and say, “Lucy, I can tell how much you love to dance and sing and I hope that you will always let your body move and groove with joy and enthusiasm for life no matter what!” Instead, I couldn’t help myself and inserted a reality check that the world demands perfection, when she was simply talking about her passion.
There will come a time when Lucy will face the stark reality that being successful in an entertainment industry exacts a very high cost. But she doesn’t need to know that now. One day, she will be disappointed when she hears that what she has to offer is not enough for what others want. Then, she will suffer the heartbreak of realizing that “wants” don’t always equal “haves.” But I’ll be damned if when that time comes, I have not fostered her heart’s desire with such enthusiasm that though she is knocked down, she will get back up and try again to live a life full of passion. Because to live life any other way is not whole…it is not complete…it is not living!
For today, it is not only enough that Lucy loves to dance and sing, it is beautiful and good and whole and complete. Today, she is living a life of passion. So, for now, Lucy knows, and often knows better than I, that the best way to live is to “Just dance…gonna be ok.”
What are your passions that aren’t perfect? Did they disappear a long time ago? What if you could start again without having to be perfect? What would you do? Where would you begin? What is it that your heart loves and why? Let us know in the comments below.