Thursday, March 12, 2015

My Daughter's First Bout of Embarrassment Could Help All Your Dreams Come True

I still remember the day my eldest daughter watched Charlotte's Web for the first time. I sat with her, in amazement, partly because it seemed unfathomable that my own daughter was experiencing a story I loved so much at her same age, but more because it was the first time I saw an experience other than her own bring her to tears.

It caught her off guard, at first.  But as she turned to me, lip quivering, and said with both fear and confusion, "I think I am going to cry", I could do nothing but hold her close and reassure her that it was okay.  It's always okay to cry.

Each of us sat, a bit crippled by raw, pure emotion, with tears streaming down our faces.  And in that moment, we both grew up a bit.  It was a once in a lifetime thing.

Until, of course, today.

Now two years older, that same daughter is the most beautiful combination of brilliant, boisterous and bright that I could ever dream of.  She is funny, creative, imaginative and embarrassed.

Yes, embarrassed.

On our ride home from school today, my nearly seven year old daughter shared that something she was asked to do at school embarrassed her.  She hadn't farted in gym class, snarfed during snack, or giggled to the point of an "accident".  No, this was much less benign, at least to me.  But my daughter was embarrassed.

It was one of those moments when the car radio and kid chatter fell away, and all I could hear was the mumble of adults in a Charlie Brown film.  All I could feel was heartbreak.

I reassured her, again, in the best way that I could.  And honestly, I am one hundred (and ten) percent positive that the whole thing hurt me way more than it hurt her.  I am sure of that because a short time later I heard her reciting "I will not give up on my dreams" over and over again.  "I will not give up on my dreams."

She'd happened upon the card I'd grabbed from a stunning photo exhibit I'd seen at an ArcLight Cinema.

Credit: Jamie Johnson

I knew taking them to see The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water was bound to have a payoff somehow.

I will never give up on my dreams, either.

And remember.

It's always okay to cry.