Dear Mom: thanks for saying no

By Holly Budd

Dear Mom,
Jennifer Love Hewitt’s new show Time of Your Life premiered last week. When she was but a pre-teen, having shown some promise as a performer, her mother moved her to Los Angeles so her daughter could fulfill her dreams of stardom. Hmmm, I seem to remember an incident when I was the star of the school Christmas play and I suggested you and I set out for the land of stars. Instead, I recall I continued with grade six the following January. There was no discussion, no debate, nothing. Mom, why can’t you be a normal unfulfilled mother and living vicariously through me?

Did you even consider entertaining my idea of hitching our family’s star to the wagon of our cute new baby? Your answer was no. In the tradition of other great child actors like the Olson twins, we could have profited heavily by ensuring our Lindsay’s first words were, "You got it dude!" Your child’s soul for TV shows, book deals and albums–seems like an insignificant price to pay. Am I the only one haunted by possibilities when I see those creepy, scrunched-face twins advertising their latest mystery adventure?

Okay, fine. So you wouldn’t allow the exploitation of your youngest child, but you could have at least molded the three of us kids into a rag-tag homespun family band like the Moffat or Hanson families. Mom, your lack of vision is startling.

When I expressed dreams of achieving Olympic gold, I didn’t see you and Dad taking out a second mortgage on the house and agreeing to be separated for four years like the Lipinskys.

Or when I thought perhaps I would parlay my substandard vocals into a hit album, I didn’t hear you suggesting I take off my shirt for an internationally distributed magazine to increase my notoriety like Britney Spears’ cool mom, did you?

When, inspired by Jewel’s courageous decision to move into her van at the urging of her mother, I considered loading my synthesizer into my Dodge Aries to seek fame and fortune, I didn’t hear you say you were proud of me. As I recall your words were something like, "You better get to work on those university applications." Thanks for the vote of confidence.

Mom, Drew Barrymore was legally emancipated from her mother when she was 15-years-old. I remember suggesting the same solution to a curfew dispute when I was 15 (the one time you actually encouraged me) "Just try it," were your words. Maybe I should have, Drew turned out alright–eventually.

So here I am, 21, and decidedly not famous. What do I have to show for myself? I’m reasonably well-adjusted, well-rounded and well-educated. Thanks Mom, I could have been washed up by now.

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