I grew up with parents who dreamed.
They were in MLMs, they attended Amway rallies (I had a little shirt that said, "Go Diamond!"), and they always taught me to "think positive!"
I remember seeing little slips of paper in their bathroom drawer with lists of dreams they wanted to achieve (way before having a Bucket List was a thing).
My dad was in sales and I saw the ups and the downs and the feast and the famine of living on straight commission.
My mom produced amazing theatre shows with kids at church and in our private school. She started with a single script and ended with an amazing production-- filling the auditorium with singing, dancing, and drama. Sets and costumes and props. Solos and microphones and backdrops and volunteers in the wings. My dad would fly in from work (he never walks--sort of always runs/glides everywhere, while singing, of course) and help with the finishing touches.
Growing up, I knew my parents were amazing, and yet I didn't. They were just my parents. It was normal to all sing around the piano. It was normal to fall asleep to the two of them practicing for the worship set on a Saturday night. Alphabetizing and filing music on a Sunday afternoon (while watching Little House on the Prairie) was a regular part of our routine. It was normal to see my parents sing duets in church on Easter Sunday.
When I moved to a new community and started raising my kids, I knew I wanted to share my parents with my friends. I also knew my kids had to grow up with the opportunity to be in my mom's incredible theatre shows. I was already growing my music school, so I told them, "I'll handle the billing and scheduling and marketing. You do theatre." And we did. And it was wildly successful. It was a felt need and we filled it.
(Both companies have grown so much that we are completely separate entities now, but we still cross-market and share students.)
Nine years later, those same kids that signed up for the preschool class are almost 13 years old, and headed to the big stage with the older kids next fall. I watched the lead characters of Sleeping Beauty this weekend, and remembered them in our preschool class, Musikgarten, singing and dancing around waving little colorful scarves. Many of the kids now take lessons at my studio and do theatre, too. Some of us go to the same church. As I wiped away a tear, my daughter asked me why I was crying. I simply said, "I love these kids."
Sometimes I worry that I should focus more on my kids. When I'm rolling out a new project or launch, I know I'm working more than usual. And then I realize I'm modeling real life for them. I'm showing them how to take a dream and make it a reality. I realize my parents did the same thing for me. They showed me that God wired each of us with gifts and abilities. It's our responsibility to use those gifts. And bless others. And make a difference in our community.
My mom always comes on stage, welcomes the audience, and introduces the show. As she walked on stage this weekend, my heart welled with pride. I've watched her do this since I was a little girl. It's what she does. She's amazing at pulling the best talent out of every child. She takes a dream and makes it a reality (after hours and hours of sweat and tears and planning and preparation). I love sharing my mom with students and families and audiences and auditoriums, but she is MY mom. She's mine. And I'm so very proud of her.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom.
Thank you for showing me how to chase my dreams.
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!