I never thought I’d end up here.
I was supposed to be living in New York City by now, a famous comedic actress on Broadway. I was supposed to have received numerous Tony Awards for my stellar performances in various musicals as a singer and dancer, and accolades for the countless Neil Simon plays written just for me.
Everybody said I was supposed to be a star. All my teachers, my friends, my drama coach. I could cry on cue, deliver a line without mistake, and hit my mark every time. Directors were amazed at the volume of my speech, coming from this little body. I could belt out a song and not break a sweat. I learned how to pose and how to strut. If I didn’t make it on Broadway, it was a no brainer that I could be a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall. Amateur photographers would take my pictures for college portfolios, saying I could use them for my casting call rounds. I did summer stock productions from 1972-1974. I did go for a casting call once, in 1973.
Then I got married.
Dreams of youth have a way of crashing down around you. Reality sets in. I got pregnant shortly after the marriage. We were both children, raising a child. He was a student and I worked in a psychiatric hospital. My stellar performances were limited to sad, mentally ill women, and a two month old. Tough crowd.
As time went on and I became a single mother, I never gave up the dream of becoming a star. But motherhood has a way of knocking everything out of your knapsack and replacing it with baby bottles, toys and teething rings. My casting bag became a baby bag. I realized I had this little life I was responsible for, and I had to make a choice. It was getting crowded in my knapsack.
I never looked back. I am happy with the choice I made, that of being a mom. I was a star to five more children as the years went by. My talent now lies within them. They are writers, singers, songwriters, photographers, musicians, artists and comedians.
They are my greatest achievements, the result of stellar performances of determination, education and compassion. They are my Tonys, my Oscars, my Emmys. Their pictures decorate every wall of my house, every corner of my office. Because I chose them over myself, I will forever have them as statues on my mantle. They have done me proud, and my ambitions and dreams will live on in them.
I never thought I’d up here. But I am so glad I did.