Friday, October 23, 2009

"I just want my children to be happy."

Even the most ambitious stage mother will use this line when confronted with the question of what she wants for her children. But as I move through my day, from job to job to job (yes, I have three), where my insights, suggestions and expertise all appear to exist in a vacuum where I have no credibility and must re-prove myself with each new idea (never, sure, you've looked into this, we can try that), I think what I really want is for my children to matter.

I come at this because I think that I just don't matter. What I think, whether I push for an idea or let it go, it doesn't matter. The bosses will be happier for not having to deal with me, and really I have such a small life, my changes to one minuscule corner of the world is not exactly going to solve famine in Africa.

But it makes me very unhappy, this idea that no matter how I've proved myself in the past, or how much experience I have what I say doesn't matter. No one cares what I think. I want people to care what my children think. I want them to know that people care what they think. I don't care if their lives are small, or how they or the world measures their material success, but I want them to know that they have mattered in someone's life.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Could my kid do that?

We saw the show High Fidelity last night. Because my son has sort of fallen into "MDing" (that's lingo, folks! "Musical Direction") for theaters, I immediately, of course, project a career for him that inevitably ends with a Tony. I have no idea if he has any amibitions in this direction. Right now I think he's just thrilled to be actually earning a living making music.

It's a hazard for parents. Everything your child tries becomes the thing that will make them famous. It's the tendency that creates Stage Mothers and other monsters of the household. One's belief in the exceptionality of one's children is so entrenched that it becomes impossible to believe when they are not the ones who get the gig, the deal, the contract, the prize.

Sunday mornings the local NPR station always ends the 9 a.m. broadcast with some young musician or actor or writer who has just "made it" on their amazing talent. Often I'll listen and think "my kid is better than that" (we will not discuss the truth of this statement. As a parent, I take it on faith). And then, equally inevitably, you discover that the kid's stepmother is Carly Simon's sister, or their summer place was next door to Norman Mailer. Not that this helped-- they did it on sheer talent. Uh huh.

Still, I believe. This will be the generation that makes it on talent, so the next generation can make it on connections. Meanwhile, back to the rolodex. Who do we know?....