What really defines a Rock Star?
I’m talking REAL. FANS. WAVING. LIGHTERS. ROCK. STARS.
You know who I am referring to here – the likes of Mick Jagger, Steven Tyler, Jon Bon Jovi and Bono – guys that have been consistently rocking it out for millions of fans for decades and never disappoint. They are a rare breed of superstar that have escaped the need for radical reinvention of themselves – only an updated haircut seems to have been required for this bunch of Rock ‘n’ Rollers. They just keep putting themselves out there and making magic. Every time.
I have some experience in the entertainment industry. I have seen a lot of what goes on backstage and I have to tell you these new reality shows looking to find the next big star are using the wrong criteria. Sure, they may showcase some extremely talented folks but the chances of finding that singularly incredible Rock Star are slim to none. Why? Because the true definition of a Rock Star not only includes talent, but growth from within that moves that person to share their song with the world – not in vain, but with fervor to make a difference in this world.
I need to let you all in on a secret I have been keeping for years now – I just cannot contain it any longer.
I gave birth to a Rock Star nearly eight years ago.
It was pretty clear from the start that there was something really special about this child. He had some innate ability to insert himself into people’s hearts. He smiled early – no, it wasn’t gas, I assure you – he just connected in a way few babies do. There was pure joy aglow in his eyes. As a toddler, his giggles would travel through every person in the room with a contagiousness I simply had never seen before. The Boy was an easy-peasy baby. He slept through the night at seven-weeks-old and would refuel with 15-ounce bottles of formula using speed and precision that rivals NASCAR pit crews. At the age of three, The Boy was still napping twice a day and growing so fast I could hardly keep him clothed. I barely saw this child for the first four years as he slept nearly 18 of the 24 hours in a day.
And he was always HAPPY.
In 2006, his baby sister arrived. The Boy was barely three when RM came home. RM’s first year is a book in itself, so someday I will reopen the old wounds and share – but today is about The Boy. From the very beginning of RM – the hospital, surgeries, tubes, endless doctors, piles of medications and the huge markerboard that filled our hallway listing the what/how/when of caring for RM – through it all my Boy was a Rock Star in the making.
The Boy hasn’t been many places. Early on, RM’s health kept us away from public playscapes, parks and restaurants. We stayed home all the time. We made the best of it. For much of the time SGM was deployed and I was simply trying to keep us ALIVE – a trip to Chuck E. Cheese was NOT happening. If we had a box of mac’n’cheese left in the cupboard we were doing good. I didn’t have respite care for myself or for The Boy so while I spent 24/7 caring for RM and her feeding tube and changing her out of puke every time I turned around – there just wasn’t much left but love.
That’s it. Snuggles at night when I pulled him into bed with me, just the two of us in the quiet. A mother wrapping her love tightly around her baby boy. A kiss and an ‘I love you, SnuggleBear’ every time I passed by him, sometimes a dozen an hour. That’s all I had left to give.
It was enough for my Rock Star.
He was STILL A HAPPY KID. His beaming smile captivated people’s attention. He grew fiercely protective of his baby sister AND his Mama. He helped with any little thing he could. He never complained that we didn’t go places and he never asked for more than he knew I could give at any time. He cherished what I had to offer and in kind, he offered all he had to RM. He would read to her and let her play near him while touching all of his stuff. He didn’t seem to mind that she would chew all of the tires off of his prized matchbox cars. Instead, he would cheer her on with every new accomplishment. He would spend hours teaching her – patiently. The Boy single-handedly taught his baby sister how to count to Ten. He would sing to her – Dear God – he would sing so sweetly to her.
This Boy of mine – this amazing creation sent to me was SAVING ME. His song was lifting me up and his love was speaking to me. My Rock Star was showing me the way.
Now about to turn eight, he continues to be the most loving big brother to RM who is turning five. He has overcome many of his own sensory processing issues. But something even more spectacular is happening. The Boy is becoming increasingly more sure of himself and his place in this world – at the ripe old age of eight. He is expressing thoughts outside of his role in this house and having FUN finding his own interests. He is stepping out of his shell and engaging in a life that more resembles what it should be – giggles, being a goofball, running with ‘the guys’ and having his first crush on a cutie down the street from us.
So where’s that next new, magical Rock Star?
He’s putting himself out there and making magic. And he’s updated his hair to prove it.
The Boy, June 2011
[I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll by Joan Jett]