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A parent's goal is love and happines for their kids

October 01, 2006|by KATE COLEMAN

I missed seeing the movie "Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story" when it was in local theaters.

I'm a sucker for a story about a horse with heart and a cute kid's relationship with her cute dad (Kurt Russell) and cute grandfather (Kris Kristofferson).

I'll rent the DVD one of these days, but it looks like a real tear-jerker. I got misty just watching the trailer, and I haven't felt like spending the day after with the puffy red eyes that always result when I watch "heartwarming" films.

I mention the movie because its title reminds me of my kids. (Maggie is 27, and Will is 24, but they'll always be my "kids" - even all grown up.)

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They are dreamers. They are pursuing totally different but equally grand goals - and that's something that really warms my heart. And it doesn't make me cry.

I realize that calling someone a dreamer can be a put-down. The implication is that the person is one who has pie-in-the-sky, pot-of-gold-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow hopes. All talk, no action. No hard work.

My kids are working hard at their dreams.

Maggie is one of 24 students in their first-year of a master's program in Musical Theatre Writing at New York University. The wordsmiths collaborate with composers to create songs and works of new musical theater. The schedule is demanding, and New York is not a particularly easy place in which to live. But my daughter tells me that her fellow students (including three from Korea, one from Greece, one from South Africa and one from Australia) are talented and supportive. She has said more than once that she loves the faculty, which includes award-winning writers and composers successful in the business (show business!). They are helpful and giving.

It's hard, hard work, and it's all about creating. Maggie is too busy to spend time being awestruck, but I know she appreciates that she's involved in an amazing opportunity.

My son's dream could hardly be more different. To say Will doesn't like theater is one of the biggest understatements I've ever made.

Depending on my mood and how recently he's called his mother, I tell people he's either focused or obsessed with golf.

Will works at a golf center in Montgomery County, Md. - usually late afternoon to closing so he can practice and play golf during the day. I often can reach him on his cell phone if I call about 11:30 p.m. Having closed the place, he'll be on the driving range hitting balls - sometimes until the morning's wee hours.

For the past couple of years all his energies have been directed toward this passion. It's hard, hard work, and it's all about keeping at it. He recently won the men's championship at a large metro-area club, and a couple days ago he started playing in the 100th Middle Atlantic Amateur Championship at another club.

I am proud of my kids for reaching high, for working hard, for putting all their efforts toward the goals and the lives they dream of.

For Mother's Day, Will sent me flowers and Maggie gave me "All the Road Running," a CD of duets by Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler. One of the album's songs, "Love and Happiness" is a wonderfully simple song that expresses what I hear as parents' hope and faith in their child.

They give their offspring (I'm sure they're singing to a kid who's going out into the world!) several tokens of good luck and protection - a wishing well, a rabbit's foot. They trust that their child will always have a "lucky star" because his "aim is true." Their one wish for their child would be for "love and happiness."

I don't know any parents who don't share that wish.

Dreams and goals can change, but I don't think the satisfaction - the happiness - that comes from giving them everything you've got does.

And that warms my heart, too.

Kate Coleman writes a monthly Lifestyle column and covers the Maryland Symphony Orchestra for The Herald-Mail.

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