A few nights ago I was watching a Showtime documentary called The Hollywood Complex about these child actors whose parents take them to California for “pilot season” every year. They all stay in an apartment complex that specializes in short-term lease situations and sponsor all kinds of events for kids. The parents shuttle them around to readings and auditions in the hopes that they will get picked up and become famous actors. So I sat through the entire show…out of sheer curiosity…like watching an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras…knowing that an hour and a half later I’d be wishing I’d have that time back. Truth be told, I really just wanted to see what kinds of parents do this
to for their kids.
Then, at the tail end of the program, I heard it. (Of course they save the best material until the end.) And I was glad I’d spent the time watching. So at the end of the season, they have this big event and bring in a top agent to speak to the kids. They showed Dakota Fanning’s agent, Cindy Osbrink, speaking to the group. And she told the parents that if they could somehow stop time for their child at the age of five, that is the magical age. From that point on, she explained, they become socialized and self-conscious. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but you get the picture.
I instantly thought about my four crazy girls, wondering how in the world we will raise them to be independent and confident, unbent by the weight of others’ opinions. Whoa. That’s heavy.
Then, as I was by myself in the car yesterday morning, I heard Leean Womack on the radio singing I Hope You Dance and it was just more than I could take. Sometimes, if I allow myself to really consider it, the Herculean task of parenthood overwhelms me. Listening to her sing those words, tears started to well up in my eyes and I had to blink so I could see where the hell I was going.
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,
I hope you DANCE!
I hope you DANCE!
All that parenting anxiety melted away instantly because I realized, when I heard those words, that my girls are gonna. friggin’. dance. Whether we want them to or not, they’re not gonna miss an opportunity to dance. I don’t know how it happened that way – no genius parenting involved – they just ended up that way.
Now, how exactly do I reel that in a bit?