Something profound happened to me while watching the Oscars last night.
No, it wasn’t Lady Gaga’s mind-blowing tribute to Dame Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music. Or Neil Patrick Harris in his tighty-whities. It was an acceptance speech, and probably not any of the ones you’re thinking.
Yes, there were AMAZING speeches by people who can put things into words in a way that will touch a lot of people who need to hear them. There were causes, and political statements, and tears of happiness as they finally got a chance to say what so many are thinking. Encouragement, love, thank yous, and an awesome message to “stay weird”, but none of those are the one that brought me to tears.
It was right after Big Hero 6 was announced as the winner of the Oscar for Best Animated Film. Of course, as a Disney freak, I was ELATED. I figured the acceptance speech would be one of those cut and dry ones- thank you so and so, love you so and so, so much hard work, thank you to the Academy- you know how it typically goes.
There were two men on stage, and one thanked his parents- but he went on to thank them for taking him seriously as a child, instead of just brushing him off, because when he was little, he told them he wanted to be a Disney animator. He thanked them for their support of his dream from the very beginning- and at that moment, I smacked Thomas.
You know, that uncontrollable side-smack when you hear something that shocks you SO much that it’s the only thing you can do to get someone’s attention?
At that moment, watching this animator’s speech, I saw Holden in 20-30 years.
He has LOVED drawing for a long time, but a few months ago, at just 7 years old, he announced very confidently that he wants to be an animator for Disney when he grows up.
I know that when we’re young, we can be SO sure of what we want to do. At one point I wanted to be a veterinarian, some kids want to be doctors, fire-fighters, or any number of other things, and as the years pass, that changes. Mine sure did. I found my passion for creative arts VERY young (not at all long after the short-lived vet stage).
First, it was music. I was completely committed and absolutely passionate and there was nothing else I wanted to do other than to write, play, and sing music- and that was a hard thing for my parents to understand, because to them, for a long time, it was an unattainable goal. They knew the odds were slim, and they worried for my future. It was SO frustrating to not be taken seriously.
I now remember how monumental it was for me, the day my parents finally accepted and supported the fact that I was working toward a career in the music business. I wanted to be, for lack of a better term, a rock star.
It may not have happened for me, but I am not angry. I’m not bitter or upset, or wishing I could go back and do it differently, because I got to try, and I had support in doing so. And because I got the chance to try and fortunately/unfortunately didn’t “make it”, it lead me to my TRUE passion: writing. I may never have realized that, had I not given music my all. I might have spent my entire adult life regretting not at least trying, instead of discovering what I was meant to do.
When children are little, they can only reach so far. To go beyond their own grasp takes your help. So help them stay grounded with your feet, but lift them up so they can reach for the stars.
I worry, just like my parents worried about me. It’s not going to be easy, and maybe he’ll never achieve his dream- but he’ll get to try with our support the whole way- and THAT…. that makes all the difference in the world.
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