A sentimental share

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life41 Comments

My creative, theater-lovin', teen-aged daughter is wrapping up a three-week run as one of the cast members of "Children of Eden" this weekend. I plan to attend two of the final three shows and I also plan to have an ample supply of Kleenex on hand.

I wasn't previously familiar with this show. I would drive Aidan to and from rehearsals, she listening to the soundtrack, and me trying to figure out what this show was really all about.

I knew that once I sat in the darkened theater, it would all come together. So I was patient.

Now as I sit and listen to the soundtrack—a daily occurrence here in my office—I can only go about every three songs without completely choking up and reaching for more tissue. And more often than not, there's a glimpse of the ugly cry.

Throughout the two-and-a-half-month rehearsal process, Aidan has come home every night bubbling over with excitement and gratitude for being part of this experience. (Read her essay on the experience by clicking here.) She has said this, of all the shows she's been in, has changed who she is as a performer and as a person. It's kind of hard as a parent to hear this and not get a little choked up.

We never pushed Aidan into anything. Sure, we encouraged her to play soccer and softball and basketball during her earlier years. She always loved being a part of any team. We let her dabble in ballet until she declared, "I just want to do MY dance and they won't let me!" (She was 5 at the time and decided ballet wasn't for her, only to take it back up at age 14 in conjunction with her love for performing in theater.) Musical instruments were part of it as well. She balked at lessons. She liked the idea of doing things her own way, figuring out guitar or piano chords as she went.

Aidan's love of shows and choral music and the entire genre of musical theater has been both a surprise and a total delight for us. Neither Dan nor I would consider ourselves theater buffs, despite the neighborhood rumors. Sure, we love hitting a play when we can, and we've enjoyed a handful of musicals over the years, Jesus Christ Superstar being one of our long-standing family favorites. But we're not versed in the genre as a whole.

Aidan has completely opened up a segment of the performing arts for us. From being in The Wiz, or Willy Wonka Jr. to the musical shows she's been part of at her school, this girl has schooled her hipster parents in another wonderful area of music.

Now I'm just rambling, but if you ever have a chance to catch this show, by all means do. You don't have to be a Bible lovin' person to enjoy it. It's really just a beautiful story about the love of parents and the universal conflicts faced by their children. Do they obey the will of their parents or do they seek their own truths? I can't help but feel when I'm sitting in the audience that it's also about parents questioning if they've really done enough to serve the needs of their children, and in the process they are seeking absolution for all of the places or times when they fell short.

Children of Eden
Try not to blame us
We were just human to error prone
Children of Eden will you reclaim us?

Then there's simply the moment of seeing your beautiful and precious child standing on a stage beneath a spotlight, her voice soaring and her joy multiplying upon itself.

I guess you can't really quanitfy that, can you?

I wanted to share a page I did in this spirit, using some wonderful photos taken by my dear friend and photographer Margie just a few weeks back.

Here's to celebrating the passions of our offspring, or anyone who brings something new and beautiful into our lives.


JOURNALING READS: Rut roh. Here comes Sentimental Mama. It’s been hitting really hard of late as I watch you perform in Children of Eden. Seeing you sing—the completely pure joy on your face—it’s such a gift to see you living your passion. I have to agree with Father. The hardest part of love is the letting go. But letting go lets me see more of who you are. I will always associate this music with you and your joy. Thank you, sweet girl, for sharing this with me. November 2011

SUPPLIES: Layered Template No. 96 (Cathy Zielske) • Pretty Petals Paper Pack (Mindy Terasawa) • Just Linens No. 04, Manchester Solids Paper Pack (Michelle Martin) • Mrs. Eaves and Museo Slab fonts


The Designer Digitals 4th Quarter Sale is currently in full swing. It's a great time to stock up and save 30% on everything in the store. Everything in my collection is on sale now through next Tuesday at 6 a.m. Eastern time.


Cathy ZielskeA sentimental share

41 Comments on “A sentimental share”

  1. #1

    awww this is beautiful, I’m so happy for her and for you. What a wonderful place for her to be in and discover who she is. The layout is gorgeous and so is the photo of you two.

    My daughter is into plays and theater to and it always makes me proud and teary eyed seeing her own stage.
    Thanks for sharing this Cathy.

  2. #4

    What a beautiful page and what a beautiful story. Being the mother of a 20-year old who is living on his own at college, I can totally relate to this. It is so wonderful to watch your child become themselves but a little hard on the mama for sure. Congrats to your amazing daughter and congrats to her sweet mother! Gorgeous photos. Thanks for sharing~

  3. #6

    why didn’t someone tell us that the hardest part of raising our kids wouldn’t be the long nights with crying infants, or the many years of toddler training, or the day at the bus stop when they board and wave goodbye until the afternoon?

    why didn’t someone tell us that the hardest part would be letting go?

    i fully understand your sorrow and your joy as you observe Aidan embrace her passion and her craft. what an incredible – i really mean it – incredible history you’ve already given her… it’s no surprise she’s starting to soar.

  4. #8

    Love your layout, the colors are great!! 2 years ago our high school did Children of Eden and my son as a 4th grader had the chance to be a part of it as one of the animals. It is an awesome show!! Enjoy!

  5. #10

    okay…heading out to work now and I’ve got mascara all over my face…..they’re going to think I”m losing my mind….crying over someone else’s blog post!! But as a mom of a teen girl, I so can totally relate! Thank you Cathy…..once again I’m reminded of my blessings and am blessed again by your pen!

  6. #11
    Heather Hillary

    ummm, OK. Cole might be superfan, but Aidan is supergorge … as in super gorgeous! Loved the sentimental story, but these photos of Aidan totally knocked me over!! Growing into a beautiful (and talented) young lady!!

  7. #12

    As someone who has watched your beautiful girl grow up from afar through your blog and scrapbook pages I want to say great job Cathy and Dan (and yes big A.) on the beautiful young lady you have clearly become.

    Also want to add that I am not a stalker although this post sure made me sound like one … 😉

  8. #14

    You hit upon it exactly. I’ve been down that road of looking at my child and being awed by what she’s accomplished completely separate from me. (She chose competitive ice skating and soared. Now she’s a coach.) Our children growing up is bittersweet…

  9. #15

    My daughter is 12 and it hit me this fall that in five more years (school years that is), she will be off to college. The morning this hit me, as I drove to work after dropping her off at school, I was a mess. Only five more years? None of the baby books or child-rearing books mentioned the “sorrow and joy”, as Mary said, of watching your child move on with her life. Oh my gosh. Definitely harder than the baby and toddler years!

  10. #16
    Liz Ness

    What a beautiful post–you almost had me crying over here, I can totally relate–and a beautiful layout, too. Thanks for the inspiration! =)

  11. #17
    jacquie d

    Beautiful post and picture of you and Aiden.
    I have been given a chance for a ‘do over’ with three foster children. I missed so many moments being a single Mom when my own daughter was growing up. She has since moved to the U.S. with her job, and I could not be more proud of her many accomplishments, albeit from afar. Letting her go seemed an impossible task, but seeing her succeed makes the buckets of tears seem so worthwhile.
    Scrapbooking has given me the opportunity to ensure that those moments with my ‘new kids’ are not lost or forgotten. (All hail MTAV!)

  12. #18
    elise blaha

    this is so awesome. she is going to be famous.

    my mom always said (when we left for college, moved across the country, etc), “I didn’t help build your wings so I could keep you from flying.”


  13. #19

    Cathy, once again you bring me to tears. Thanks for sharing your life with us. Having just sent Jacob off to college, to pursue interests that we would never have imagined, this quote is so perfect for me: The hardest part of love is the letting go. But letting go lets me see more of who you are.

    With gratitude,

  14. #21

    I can so relate to this post. My youngest daughter is 13 and has theater in her blood. She sings, dances and acts like she’s a seasoned pro…and I never see her more happy than when she’s on that stage! I don’t know where it will lead, but it’s been a ride worth taking for her self-esteem if nothing else. On another note, my oldest daughter is 17 and is a senior in high school. College visits have really made it hit home that her time at nightly family dinners with us is very limited. I agree with the comment above though…I remind both girls often (or am I reminding myself?) that our job as their parents has been to raise them to be independent thinkers and leaders who are able to go out into the world and make their own mark. I just hope there are enough tissues on hand when my nest is empty!!

  15. #23

    With 5 daughters who have all been involved in piano, dance, song, and guitar for many years, I have had the privilege of attending many, many performances through the years. It never ceases to amaze and thrill me at the talent of the youth. I’m not bragging about “my” kids, I’m bragging about all the kids out there who are putting their hearts and souls into becoming something fantastic, doing something that is meaningful to them, and giving their all to something that gives pleasure to and builds and lifts others in the process of sharing their talents. I absolutely love and adore them all for doing what they do! It gets me everytime. Love it!

    And the pictures of you and Aidan are just lovely!

  16. #24

    Aidan is so beautiful – and it’s wonderful to be a proud mama. Seeing who they grow up to be is such a bittersweet joy, because you’re right, we have to let them go for them to fly. My first one has flown the coop – she’s living a thousand miles away and will be moving overseas next January. She is such a joy and I miss her even as I watch in amazement at who she is and what she is doing.

  17. #25
    Angela NJ

    Oh my goodness, there are tears in my eyes as I read your post. I only have one child, a daughter, and though she’s only eight, I am reminded most every day of how quickly she will be gone. And then I looked at that beautiful picture and read your words and the tears came again because your story reminds me that each child should be so lucky to have a mother that will find it hard to let them go. Get a little holster for your waistband to hold that pack of kleenex and enjoy every moment with your sweet girl. Thanks so much for sharing this lovely moment with us.

  18. #28
    Liz, Melb, Australia

    Our 16YO is flying from Oz to France in 4 weeks to immerse herself in French life courtesy of her school. Language is her passion. We, the parents, have limited French language skills (a.k.a. not much at all) and her 11YO sister has none BUT there are now French-English dictionaries at every desk. We are all now expert hand wavers and our knowledge of French weather is mind-boggling. It will be COLD!!
    We are stealing ourselves for the airport and the five weeks without her. BUT, we trust that she is good hands and that her passion will be fuelled.
    As parents, we expect to be the teachers. It’s been a delightful surprise to be on the receiving end!
    Again … sob!

  19. #29
    Barb in AK

    Sounds like an amazing musical! As it has been said, Music touches the soul in a way that nothing else can. 🙂
    I’m so glad I was able to teach music to young children for 33-years!
    Speaking of musicals, dh and I are coming up to The Cities in Dec. for “Les Miserables”!! I can’t wait 🙂

  20. #33

    So love the whole post. I know this is silly, but I really love the start of it “Rut roh” which (of course) is Scooby Doo. I love that it starts with the place that you might be comfortable in parenting- when they were little! Before it got serious. I really appreciate the way that you share your real self with us, Cathy. It would be easy to only share the easy stuff, but you really show the human experience with the breadth of your posts. Thank you!

  21. #34

    My first impulse was to say Aidan was so lucky to have parents like you who allow her these experiences. But then I also realized that you are also lucky to have a daughter like her to introduce you to new things too 🙂

    Thanks for sharing what she wrote about performing, i loved reading it. I remember my love for the stage too, but I didn’t have as much as passion as your daughter has to really pursue it instead of just waiting for the opportunities. Thank you!

  22. #35

    Thanks for sharing this, I can really relate. My daughter is 11, but has been at home on stage practically since kindergarten. Every time I see her perform I am amazed at what she can do, and wonder where this talent comes from (considering I was a sit-in-the-back-of-the-class shy girl). Good for you for letting her spread her wings and find her own path in the world.

  23. #36

    This is a beautiful post Cathy, and I loved the page – both the photos and the journalling.
    I feel like I have watched Aidan (and Cole) grow up through your layouts and your blog over the years and what a beautiful young woman she is growing into! So confident and talented, just like her mamma. No wonder you and Dan are so proud of her. Heck, I’m proud of her and I don’t even know her! lol
    Please pass on my congratulations to Aidan for her role in Children of Eden. xx

  24. #38

    Absolutely beautiful layout, photos, and story. From reading your blog, I can see that you not only love your kids, as most parents do, but that you also really like your kids. You like who they are, who they are becoming, and I think that’s how they have developed the strength to fly. I’m inspired!

  25. #40

    You are an amazing Mom. I love that you and Dan support your children in what they want to do. This is such a gift. I grew up in a home where we were only supported if it’s what our parents wanted. I am trying to be the type of parent that you are to my little one’s and I love seeing it work so well for you. Thank you so much for sharing.

  26. #41

    I just want to say how much I LOVE Aidan’s hair in these photos. oh and your post too;) But Aidan’s hair is awesome!

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