Happy birthday dear Molly, happy birthday to you, we sang this afternoon, although her birthday was actually 2 days ago. She turned 14, and like most people my age, I was reminded of the time when I was her age.
I remember it so specifically, because it was a time of some significant changes in my life.
Aside from changes in my body and the discovery that boys werent icky after all, it was the beginning of an arduous journey in trying to find the cause of my blindness. We didnt know I was legally blind then, just that something was wrong with my vision. Wed known that for 6 years, but by this time, my parents must have realized the problem was not going to be outgrown.
On a happier note, and this is really the point of this post, I began to develop my passion for dance. My Aunt Lynn had heard of a very prominent dance teacher in Cincinnati named Jack Louiso, and she arranged for me to be enrolled in classes at one of his many studios. That was the beginning of the happiest time in my life. As I tried to explain to Molly, (not her real name) that was a life-changing experience for me. I knew I loved to dance, and I knew I had talent, but I didnt expect to be a star the moment I walked into class. I took several classes a week with other girls my age, and we all progressed so well that Jack formed a dance group he called The Jackettes, you know, like the rockettes. We performed at all his recitals and on local tv. Like some of the other girls in the Jackettes, I took private lessons as well. That was the foundation for my poise on stage and my self esteem. While my world of vision was falling apart, I had dancing to cling to as my affirmation of having something special about me other than being blind. throughout my high school years, I couldnt see very well, and I didnt have a boyfriend or even any dates, but I had something I was good at. When I went to my 45th high school reunion, I was amazed and delighted to discover that my classmates remembered more about my dancing than about my poor vision.
My birthday wish for Molly is that she finds something to get good at., not something that shes good at already. Shell have to try out different pursuits until she discovers her passion. Then I pray that she really digs in and pursues that passion. As an old song says, If you dont have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true.
14 is a little young for deciding your lifes work, but its a great time for dreaming. A dream is the dawning of a new day.