When Shay started getting into the acting bit last summer, I made her cry. I was laughing, but technically, at her, since she wasn't laughing too. See, I tried to have her prepare a little song in case she needed it for the audition. She sang, and it was T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E! I thought she was kidding. I swear, it made my ears hurt to listen to it. I have a horrible voice, and even that, I tried to have her match my pitch and she just couldn't do it. I felt so bad for her. She thought she sounded great. I was doing her hair, and I saw a tear roll down her cheek as I laughed. I quickly told her that I thought she was laughing with me, and honestly, I never meant to laugh AT her. I explained that I am terrible at other things, and I laugh at myself for my lack of ability. However, I figured that with enough drive, she could do anything she put her mind to.
I hooked her up with her G-d Mother, Aunt Rachel, and within a few minutes in a bathroom, she learned how to draw out her vowels and how to breath, and began to sing without the use of her nose. She could definitely benefit from more lessons, hint hint my dear Rache', however, she has this love of singing and nowadays, I ask her to sing for me, as her voice makes my day better. The joy she shares makes me warm inside.
Today, while I was an hour late and a dollar short for her acting class, we decided to stop in as the class was dismissing since Shay worked all week on a little heart felt gift for her acting coach. Ms. Tisha always remembers each of the children's birthdays, even my sons- and he isn't even in her classes! Shay was so eager to make a little card and craft gift, so there was no way I would have thought to take that gifting opportunity away from her. Shay gives her gift to Ms. Tisha, and then Ms. Tisha comments that Shay's "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" rendition was missed in class, and that she should keep working on her songs this week. I jumped in to brag on Shay, as she is way too humble. Shay actually practices her songs and lines (if she has any) each and every day. She is incredibly self motivated, and while she is amazing at memorizing lines and songs, she has a long way to go before she takes on larger roles.
Ms. Tisha said something to the effect, "You are getting ready for a lead part, huh?" I quickly nixed that. I want Shay to have opportunities, but not before mastering the craft, the art, in due time. She is seven, and while I love that she is so passionate about the theater, she has soooooo far to go in her acting development. We were driving home, and I turned the radio off. I wanted Shay to know that I believe in her, but I also recognize her limits and believe that with hard work, her limits are as near or far as she allows them to be. As a mom, being loving and honest at the same time are a challenge. A dance between spirit crushing and motivational is not my forte', but I think I nailed this one.
I have spent years applauding every single minute detail in her brother's life. And now, dude expects a full on ticker tape parade if he flushed the toilet without me reminding him. If he washes his hands, and USES the soap, I believe he will be awaiting his Disney World tickets. I have stopped all that in recent times, but it took eight years of screwing up before I realized that I can love my children honestly, and they will trust me when I say, "Good job." I told Shay that I was proud of her for trying. I am proudest of her failures when she gave it her all, stepped out of her comfort zone, or does something for herself. I refuse to offer false hope to her, or any child. I play to win, and have seen her learn more in an hour of losing tic-tac-toe than in a game that I gave away.
I don't want my children to grow up and say that I made it too easy for them. I hope to one day release two individuals into the world that will be better equipped to handle life for the child hood they were given. I'm sure that the term "tiger-mom" comes to mind, but it's not like that. I push. I am honest. I am fair. But above all- I am loving. And I lovingly guide my children to realistic goals and pray that I stay far from crushing spirits as I give them flight.
PS If you ever see her, ask her to sing you EVERY verse of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." I bet you had never heard more than half of the verses! And if you are her Aunt Rachel, you might want to spend some extra time with your aptly named G-d daughter in a bathroom in the near future. ;o)