Some days I want to strangle her. But most days, I feel like my heart is going burst with pride when I look at her. I gave birth to her when I was twenty and my whole life changed. I’ve lived a very blessed life being able to sing and perform. I’ve traveled a little bit in the world and I’ve met some of the most wonderful people on this planet that I’m ecstatic to call my friends. But Ariana was the reason I gave all of it up to settle down and start a family.
Oh come on, there’s no sadness there. It’s not like I was giving up winning the lottery. It was rough out there for an entertainer. Long nights singing to drunk people through crappy sounds systems in bars that require security at the front and the back door. Or singing to crowds or two or three in a family restaurant. Someone once told me just weeks before I gave it up that he hoped that one day, I would sing in a place where not a morsel of food or a drop of drink would be entering anyone’s mouth. (Dave, if you’re reading this. I finally made it.)
When I gave up singing in 2002 it was because my oldest daughter had started had started Kindergarten and I was instinctively driven to be that mother who was always present. It was in my head that she needed me to be there, and not on the road attempting to make money. I didn’t hate what I was doing. I was struggling at it, but I was a working musician and I loved it. I’ve always loved it. I just loved her more. I don’t regret settling down to have a family. It gave me invaluable life lessons that have made me who I am today. Do I wonder how far I would have made it music if I hadn’t? Of course I do. Who wouldn’t. But even after thinking about it and wondering, I still know I made the right decision. The entertainment business is scary, and very cruel. It takes a thick skin to even get out there and try your hand at it. God forbid that you’re doing it alone on a wing and prayer with no guidance.
I was much older and wiser when I decided to get back on the horse. Trust and believe when I say it was for many reasons and that’s a whole new blog post. But something wonderful happened when I did. My oldest daughter, jumped on the horse with me.
As I watch some of my favorite celebrities bring their children into the business I can’t tell you the feeling of full circle I get every night before she and I hit the stage. She’s amazing at what she does and I feel so blessed that she decided to start this with me. For the moment at the age of 19 almost 20 she trusts me enough to guide her career and keep her from making the same mistakes I made. As a parent, that’s really winning. I have four other children coming up behind her who all watch us nightly on stage and a few of them have expressed interest in following in our footsteps. If we work hard at it, this could become a family business. Seriously, I think this is the beginning of something really beautiful.