I have a very important engagement today. I am speaking to my daughter Millie's Girl Scout troop about what it's like to have a career in music. I have found that the first rule of speaking to a group of one of my children's peers is simple...do not embarrass the child. Millie doesn't see me as a singer. I'm just her mom. I'm the lady who gets stressed out at the computer, strums away at my guitar all day, makes her dinners, gives her advice on friends and doctors infected ears.
We brought 5 of our 10 children with us to a wonderful western festival this last weekend called the Cache Valley Rendezvous. Of course the highlight of the weekend to our children was not seeing mom perform. Swimming in the pool, staying at a hotel and getting spoiled in the green room was higher on their list of thrills. Little CeCe said, "When mom sings, I get this feeling that she is very, very popular." I could tell that this concept was strange to her.
The truth is that all of our mothers are more than just our moms. That's a hard truth for. They have their own ambitions, their own dreams and their own weaknesses and heartaches that we have a hard time allowing them. Thinking of a mom as anything other than a mom sometimes stretches a child's imagination beyond what he/she is capable of. A child needs that maternal connection and when it is missing there is a hole in the heart.
I have made peace with myself in my role as a mother. Time and experience has a way of settling on a persons soul. My job is not to be perfect or to micro-manage my children's lives. My job is to be real and to be connected. I think having ten children has helped me to define my role as a mother. It is physically impossible for me to help write my children's research papers, attend every game, or provide expensive gifts for every occasion. What I am capable of is providing a lifetime of love and encouragement.
So today when I go speak to Millie and her fellow Girl Scouts, I'm going to say, "Hi, I'm Millie's Mom. I also am a singer and a songwriter and make my living sharing music with folks." My goal is not to be famous. My goal is to let my light shine as brightly as I can and teach my children to do the same.