I have a story to share with you. Dreams come true.
If you believe in yourself, anything is possible!
In my 20’s, I heard this sort of rhetoric all of the time in popular culture and thought it was true. Maybe it is, but not for everyone. Over the years, my motto has shifted. Last weekend I celebrated my 46th birthday. What have I learned since my student days?
Hard work and dedication pay off.
My children often criticize me for being stubborn; their stubbornness has been my greatest challenge as a parent. Sometimes I feel bad for passing on this trait. It depends on how you look at it though. In some ways it’s actually a positive characteristic. My oldest son’s tenaciousness has helped him win powerlifting competitions. My daughter spends hours studying and won’t give up until she understands difficult equations. The littlest one is determined to do whatever we’re doing, despite being only 3 years old. My second son, who spent most of his life as “the middle child,” has his own unique brand of stubbornness. It is serving him well!
I have given my 18 year old the same guidance I had at his age. My legal guardian (whom I usually refer to as my bonus mom here), was less than enthusiastic about me pursuing a career in the performing arts. She worried that I would struggle to make a living. She wanted me to have security. I auditioned for the dance department at the Ohio State University anyway. I wanted to be a modern dancer and no one could stop me.
I was accepted into the program and decided to minor in English. Throughout my 5 years at university, my bonus mom told people I was going to be an English teacher, even though I was a dance major. It hurt and baffled me. I had taken her advice to keep up with my academic studies, so I’d have something to fall back on if necessary. The lack of support I received in regards to dancing didn’t deter me from following my dreams. Parental acceptance and encouragement would have helped me though.
Fast forward… All of my older children are proficient musicians and were offered lessons from an early age. Their dad was a talented guitarist and played in a band. Music meant more to him than anything. I have always loved singing and performed in the show choir in high school. Sometimes my ex husband and I would sit by the fire and sing together. We wanted our children to have a way of expressing themselves and share our love of music. It’s the one thing that united us.
Over the last few years, Mr T has thrown all of his energy into making music. I have tried to encourage him to make more of an effort at school and complete his education. Suddenly, I feel like I’ve become my bonus mom. Having struggled financially for years, I do not want any of my children to carry such a burden in their own lives. I want them to have security. It’s an awful weight, trying to pay bills when your outgoings exceed your income. It can zap the joy out of life. Thankfully I no longer worry about the house being repossessed by the bank, and I’m in a much better place than I was 10 years ago.
I want my kids to learn from my mistakes and protect them from hardship. Am I wrong to worry like this? I don’t regret earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts, although I almost retrained a few years ago… as an English teacher. The irony is not lost on me.
I’ve recently come to a realization. My own experience is simply that. My children will forge their own destinies. Their stories are not the same as mine. Maybe I should let go of fear and support their endeavors wholeheartedly. Parents tend to think that we are our children’s teachers. In the beginning we are, but then things change. They teach us too.
If you’re following me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have already heard the exciting news. Mr T released a new song last week. A producer at a national radio station discovered it by chance online. She sent it to her co-worker. DJ Jenny Greene chose it to be the Tune of the Week on 2FM. Every day this week the song is being played on the radio just after the 5:oo news.
Last night Jenny Greene gave a fabulous intro with the backstory of the song. She even gave Mom and Dad a shoutout, which took me completely by surprise. I couldn’t be more proud of my son! I do feel sad that his dad didn’t live long enough to celebrate this moment. My understanding is that this is only the second time the station has chosen an unsigned artist to be featured. It’s quite an honor. I’m thrilled he has been given this opportunity!
The pandemic has been hard for everyone, and young people especially have struggled socially. My son wrote this song last summer in response to his experiences. Just before Covid-19 hit Ireland, he met a girl from a nearby town through his music. They went for coffee once. Then lockdown hit and they couldn’t meet again.
Essentially the song was about a second date I was robbed of, along with a sweet girl I never really got to know. Human connection is so important to me, something a few phone calls can’t substitute.
The young woman does not actually know the song is about her. It’s almost been a year since we went for coffee and we don’t talk anymore. There is no reference to lockdown in the song because what I wanted was just some sense of normality. I wanted to forget about the rest of the world, over some good food and a Bottle O’ Red with someone I didn’t quite know yet, something that in this current world is the stuff of dreams.Tristan (AKA Mr. T on this blog)
I think that’s something most of us can relate to right now. Despite lockdowns, rising Covid cases, inauguration fears, and all of the other difficulties you might be facing right now, take heart in knowing that dreams still come true. With perseverance, obstacles can be overcome. Sometimes limitations or difficulties become creative fodder. We’ll get through this. In the meantime, why not enjoy a little escapism? You could always pour a drink, crank up the stereo, and bust a few moves!
If you’ve enjoyed listening to Bottle O’Red, please follow Tristan on Spotify, Youtube, and/ or Instagram for music updates. Don’t forget to share with your friends! This is just the beginning of his musical journey a songwriter and performer. With his talent and ambition, I’m sure he will go far!
Featured Photo Credit: by Jacob Bentzinger