Yesterday I had the honour of supporting my girl in a first step toward her dream.
She is 8. I was 8 when I knew what I wanted to do with my life and began pursuing it seriously. I was 8 when I told my mother "I'm going to be a writer," and she, from that moment and to this day, believed in me unwaveringly. I know that 8 isn't too young to have a passion that's the real deal, a passion that can sustain you through decades of struggle and setback, an inner burning fire that says: This. This is the thing that I am here for.
She wants to be an actor. Her father is an actor. (So were her grandmother and grandfather. It's in the blood.) She's wanted it already for years ("I've been waiting over half my life!"), but Richard, himself a child actor, has reservations. Acting isn't like writing, where you can do what you love on your own in your bedroom, where the thing you're creating is allowed to become its full self without judgment or rejection or even praise at least until after you finish making it. Where the thing you're creating, the thing that's being judged and rejected and shaped, isn't your very body, your voice, your physical-spiritual-emotional essence and what you do with them.
But now she is 8, and there is no holding her back. Together we submitted her for an audition. She got called in. On the subway downtown she couldn't stop smiling. "This is the best day of my life," she said. She rocked it. Afterward I bought her ice cream and we wandered through David Pecaut Square, and in the square was a fountain with a flame, the Eternal Flame of Hope: "Symbolic of the hopes, aspirations, and triumphal achievements burning within the human spirit." We made wishes for the success of our aspirations and threw in our coins. She hugged me over and over. I told her always to remember the happiness and certainty and inner knowledge she was feeling right now, to remember it in 2 years and 10 and 20 any time the path seemed hard or long or impossible, and to let it sustain her because it's real.
She was like, "I have no idea what you're saying."