Parts of being a mom do not feel so good. When I see my children struggle, when they feel real pain, this is when my heart exists outside my body. With every sorrow, my heart breaks. There are not many places where my Keaton feels like he fits in. To me, he is a shining star ALWAYS. Yes, I struggle with some of his behaviors. What parent doesn't now and then with their children? However, one look at this beautiful boy brings purpose and meaning to my life.
With size not in his favor, Keaton feels he starts with a few strikes against him no matter where he is or who he is with. I want to protect him from all in the world that would do him harm. While I celebrate him in my life, I see the looks he gets when we are at swimming pools, restaurants, parks, clothing stores or any public place. He is my perfect boy. I see a child that wants to be loved. I see kindness and devotion. I see a child transitioning into a man right before my eyes. I love him regardless. I just don't want him to hurt. I want him to shine.
Recently, I took a chance and enrolled Keaton and my 9 year old daughter, Belle in a theatre camp. Initially, my desire was to occupy these two during the day while I am at work. Additionally, I did want to take advantage of it giving the kids an opportunity to ride their bikes the 1 mile downhill (which means 1 mile uphill) each day. However, my main goal was to expose and introduce them to a new skill and possible talent for them to pursue. I want them to have every opportunity to find their passion. This two week theatre camp sounded like a win/win to me.
As a mom, imagine my delight when I was speaking with a staff member at this camp when she told me the staff will truly miss Keaton when the camp ends this weekend. She stated that each staff member has mentioned Keaton being a stand out kid. She commented on his enthusiasm, desire to learn, kindness, creativity, aptitude and all around pleasant nature. (Mama don't cry to the lady on the phone.....don't cry, don't cry, don't cry).
Eventually I felt the conversation safe enough to share my biggest concern. There are not many places where Keaton feels accepted. He
always often feels like the outcast. The one kid that just doesn't fit in. I told her I have seen a light in him grow that I have longed to see. He comes home each day jubilant to share the details of his day. He admits to it being hard. He admits the music makes his voice tired. He admits he doesn't like riding his bike home afterwards. And yet, he states all this with a smile and energy.
That was when she told me, "Tara, most of us don't fit in one way or another in most places, but here we seem to work. This is where we fit in. I want you to know, Keaton SHINES when he is here."
And now the tears.......I tell her it was not easy for me to pay the $135/each. But I am so glad I did just to hear those words and to give my son/children this experience. EVERY ONE DESERVES TO SHINE. Let me say it again, EVERY ONE DESERVES TO SHINE. My beautiful baby doesn't only shine, he radiates. I am so blessed.
Maybe I have a future actor on my hands. Maybe an award winning playwright, set designer or sound person. Maybe he will just be the guy that carries off and on props during the show. I don't care. My boy shines.
This is our journey. This is his journey. This is one amazing mama payday. I can't wait to watch him and Belle perform on Friday night. I will be the mama in the third row center with the biggest smile, proudest heart and deepest gratitude.
As a side note, Belle and her talents are not overlooked at the camp. My beautiful Belle always stands out. She is the show stealer, ALWAYS. I think even she understands this is a time for Keaton to stand out. In her tender way, she is stepping back for the spotlight to hit her big brother. I have some amazing children.