Whenever a new season begins of a show like The Voice or American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance, there are three things that always strike me: 1) The passion these people have for what they do. 2) The hardships so many have gone through and 3) The extreme sacrifices parents make to make their child’s dreams come true. I particularly marvel at that last one. Parents quit their jobs to travel with them, families live in their car to afford dance lessons… The same thing happens on Shark Tank. A fourteen year old will come on with a fresh new way to recycle. The sharks will ask where they got their funding and they’ll say: “My parents took out a second mortgage on our house.”
Where I grew up, that would have been a joke not a suggestion.
Dad: “What do you want me to do, mortgage the house for you?” The real, unspoken suggestion would have been: “Go away. I’m trying to watch the news.” I kind of feel sorry for those Shark Tank kids…. growing up in a house with no sarcasm.
The sacrifice that some of these parents make really is astounding: Emptying out their 401K so the kid could take piano lessons. I could just see that playing out at my house:
Me: “… but my music teacher at school said I’m a prodigy.”
Dad: “So let her pay for your lessons.”
Me: “It’s always been my dream to be a film actress. Why can’t we move the family to Hollywood?”
Dad: “Yeah, you’ve got a case.”
I’m not going to lie. As a kid, I felt constantly disappointed, frustrated, and even deflated by my parents’ apparent lack of enthusiasm for my interests, passions and achievements. At my high school graduation, as a total surprise, I was called up to the podium to receive a $1000 scholarship award. After the ceremony, I hung out with friends and drove home later. When my mother opened the door upon my return I said:
“I won an award! Did you hear them call me up there?!”
Her response was; “Yeah. That was great.”
“Could you be a little more excited?”
“What do you want me to do? Jump up and down?”
“That would be nice.”
On the other hand, my parents drove two of my friends to the graduation because their parents didn’t attend.
And while I always felt let down at the time, I understand now where their poker faces came from. They were great loving parents who grew up as children of immigrants during the Great Depression. I don’t know how much hope or expectation there was in their childhoods but security was everything. The only goal you should ever have: Get a steady job with good pay and a pension plan. A child who was determined to write and make people laugh made them very nervous.
So now that I’m the adult and I’m the parent, I’m the one in control of all these things: I call all the shots: Where we move. What gets mortgaged. So if one day I decide that I have a burning desire to sing and a calling to audition for The Voice, I can just pack up the family, say: “get in the car!” and head west and nobody can do much about it. And then it will finally be all about me. Standing up on that stage singing out my soul, willing those chairs to turn- the judges drowning me in praise and thunderous applause. Then I’ll run off stage, ignoring Carson Daly, to celebrate by recounting every minute detail of my ecstatic, life-changing, out-of-body experience with my loved ones in the wings to which they will reply:
Husband: “I know. I was standing right here.” (showing me his phone) “Did you see who the Mets traded?”
Child 1: “Are you finally done? Can we go now? We’ve been here forever.”
Child 2: “Can I borrow your phone? Mine is only 12%.”
Child 3: “I’m starving to death. Did you bring any snacks?”
So I suppose “lack of support” doesn’t run in families… It just apparently runs in mine.
Thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you’d like more laughs at life’s expense, visit my home page / sign up for my newsletter/ peruse my books. And always remember: Laughing IS Conceivable…And Humor Heals. http://laughingisconceivable.com / Amazon link to books including that new one: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=laughing+is+conceivable