When I was young, I wanted to be a ballerina. I dreamed of wearing beautiful tutus and shoes. I wanted to dance across a stage, seeing only the stage lights in front of me. I wanted to shine. I looked at Russian Ballet photo books and asked my parents for lessons. I remember my mother's sad smile as she told me that life was not for me. She thought I wanted to be a ballet dancer in real life, and that kind of training and costumes took money she did not have in the budget. I just wanted some basic training, some second-hand costume pieces, and a basement playroom where I could let my imagination run wild.
My older brother was often tasked with babysitting me. He dressed me up in his old church suit, at least two growth spurts too small for him, and handed me a cap gun. "Okay," he said as he tied his own tie, "we're secret agents, and the bad guys have entered the base. We're going to get them before they get us. Remember, you only have six shots. Use them wisely." Seven-year-old me and fifteen-year-old him. We saved the day every time.
Today, I have my own fifteen-year-old... and a fourteen-year-old, an eight-year-old, and a six-year-old. I have taught them it is important to have your moment to shine. My boys are superheroes and super villains. My girl is a ballerina, princess, superhero, super villain, who loves her homemade, handmade, second-hand, hand-me-down costumes. There are more than enough obstacles to joy in the world today. My job as Mom is to teach them to shine with all their might!