When The Ex and I separated, even though he tended to be a little shy, Nick slowly began filling some of the roles of being the man of the house. Taking on more responsibility. Thinking about things that normal (then) seven and eight year olds wouldn’t. Being a protector of his sister and I.
And while that was wonderful, I had a keen interest in letting him continue being a child as well.
I don’t want either of them to grow up before their time due to unforeseen circumstances in their environment.
Kids should be kids.
And things eventually leveled out and our family dynamic grew into a new normal.
A new routine.
New ebbs and flows and responsibilities and adventures.
But something happened last year.
Sometime in the second half of the year.
And I can’t quite put my finger on where the shift exactly was. Or what motivated it.
And it could all just be part of the evolution as children grow up.
But Nick started really coming into his own.
Becoming more and more outgoing. More brave. More forthright.
Just plain more.
And I can’t even tell you how that makes my heart swell.
And especially this year.
He has completely lived outside of his box. His comfort zone. Out of what normally he would do.
And he couldn’t be better for it.
He has a strong interest in acting. TV. Commercials. What have you.
And the radio constantly plays a commercial calling kids to come out and audition for Disney shows and commercials.
A cattle call, if you will.
Which I’m convinced is a scam.
And every time the commercial comes on, Nick asks me if that’s the legitimate one.
And it isn’t. At least I think it isn’t.
Flash forward to this past January and I came across an acting workshop at a rather large, well-established community theater. They had several different age groups and focuses, and I ended up registering Nick for it. It was a weekly evening class for three months, culminating in a performance for family and friends a few weeks ago.
Three plus years ago, there is no way would Nick have allowed me to sign him up. Would have put up a fight about going.
But not this time. As it is about twenty minutes away, he wouldn’t know anyone else in the workshop before beginning. We had no clue what it would be like. We were completely blind going in. But I explained that if he really wants to be involved in acting, this would be a great way to find out if he liked it and what it was all about.
And he took a leap.
And loved it. When it came time for performance night at the culmination of the workshop, I didn’t know anything about the play, how many lines he’d have to learn, how big the part was. He never rehearsed at home. And gave us few details. Everything took place during his weekly workshop.
Madeline has a habit of being Nick’s biggest cheerleader from the sidelines, so right before the play was about to start, I told her that when she saw him, she couldn’t yell out for him like she does at his track meets. It was all she could do to quell her excitement when he first walked onto the stage.
And I sat there, through the 45 minute performance, completely in awe.
My once-shy kid, was standing in the middle of the stage, delivering line after line, on his own, in front of his peers, and an audience. Not one hesitation. Not one moment.
I couldn’t have been more proud.
And he showed this renewed sense of confidence again in the beginning of Spring, when he signed up for track. Although he has played soccer for six years, this was the first year for track. And he went out there and killed it. He runs like it is effortless and has perhaps even surprised himself as he is consistently in first place for many of his races.
And this weekend in Disney World. More examples. He went on the Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios). Wanted to. Couldn’t wait to. A ride that scared me some 15 years ago when The Ex and I went on it.
Went on The Runaway Train.
Went on the roller coaster at Sea World that went upside down three times during the course of its track. A roller coaster that you don’t sit down for (you’re kind of half-lying down). Seriously, click on over to see the pictures – no way am I brave enough to go on that.
And on his class trip yesterday, he couldn’t wait to go rock climbing. Zip lining.
And on an upcoming Scout trip, he can’t wait to go white water rafting.
And although I tell him all the time how proud I am of him, I write this here so one day he can look back on it all and have the memories, and see how I felt. How very proud I am.
One of my favorite passages when it comes to living life and making the most out of it comes from the book She, authored by Kobi Yamada, and, although it’s geared towards women, I keep coming back to it for Nick.
Because there are a few passages in it that remind me of the person he is growing into over the last year or so (the full text is below).
“She took the leap and built her wings on the way down…”
He has taken the leap with the acting workshop, track, and just life in general, every day, and I couldn’t be more proud to be along with him on his journey, wherever it may lead.
She loved life and it loved her right back
celebrate her passion
She listened to her heart above all other voices
celebrate her wisdom
She pursued big dreams instead of small realities
celebrate her priorities
She saw every ending as a new beginning
celebrate her resiliency
She discovered real measurements had nothing to do with numbers or statistics
celebrate her self-esteem
She was kind loving and patient…with herself
celebrate her tenderness
She woke up one day and threw away all her excuses
celebrate her accountability
She realized that she was missing a great deal by being sensible
celebrate her spirit
She turned her cants into cans and her dreams into plans
celebrate her goals
She ignored people who said it couldn’t be done
celebrate her independence
She had a way of turning obstacles into opportunities
celebrate her magic
She went out on a limb had it break behind her and she discovered she could fly
celebrate her faith
She discovered that she was the one shed been waiting for
celebrate her self reliance
She added so much beauty to being human
celebrate her presence
She walked in when everyone else walked out
celebrate her friendship
She just had this way of brightening the day
celebrate her radiance
She made the whole world feel like home
celebrate her warmth
She decided to enjoy more and endure less
celebrate her choices
She decided to start living the life shed imagined
celebrate her freedom
She colored her thoughts with only the brightest colors
celebrate her optimism
She was an artist and her life was her canvas
celebrate her brilliance
She ran ahead where there were no paths
celebrate her bravery
She crossed borders recklessly, refusing to recognize limits, saying bon jour and buon giorno as though she owned both france and italy and the day itself
celebrate her joie de vivre
She held her head high and looked the world straight in the eye
celebrate her strength
She not only saw a light at the end of the tunnel she became that light for others
celebrate her compassion
She designed a life she loved
celebrate her joy
She took the leap and built her wings on the way down
celebrate her daring
She said bye-bye to unhealthy relationships
celebrate her happiness
She remained true to herself
celebrate her authenticity
She made the world a better place
And if you read straight to the end of this post, congrats to you and thank you! It was important to me to get it all down. I feel like this blog and the countless photos I take are the biggest legacy I can leave my kids. Proof that I was here. That they mattered. Every big and little thing. All the little milestones and gaffes and silly nonsensical moments. All the good, bad, and indifferent. And that there was love and laughter. And lots and lots of light.
And tomorrow? Zucchini Pasta!