A Mother’s Dream but not a Daughter’s

By Marlou Newkirk

It is sad when a mother foists her dream on a daughter. When I was a
senior in high school, I wanted to be a football cheerleader. This,
however, was not to be since my mother had decided when I came out of
her womb that I would be an actress. Her lifelong dream of doing that
had been thwarted by my arrival.

What I wanted to do was put on a short skirt that twirled when you
turned and the important heavy white sweater with the letter S for
Shaler High School. I wanted to shout into a microphone “Give me an S,
give me an H,” fling my arms into the air and encourage the cheering,
Friday night crowd.

The cheerleading tryouts were held at the same time as casting for the
senior class play but there was never any choice as to where I would go.
I went to the casting. I might not have been chosen as a cheerleader
but it would have been my decision to try out.

I got the lead in the play. I was the lead in the junior class play so
this was not as exciting
for me as it might have been for others. I know there were young women
who would have loved the lead but it was mine. All those acting lessons
I had as a child paid off.

The opening was on a Friday night and the production was a success. My
Mother was pleased but my heart and soul were with the cheerleaders. It
was because I had no choice that caused me such pain. I was young and
vulnerable. It would be years before I could confront the conflict
between my mother’s needs and my own.

I went to college and majored in drama. I wanted to be a botanist but
my strong willed mother prevailed. I graduated but I never acted
professionally. I had learned that to spend your life in any art you
must be passionate about it—it cannot be the passion of your mother.

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