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  • Sam Darling

The weight of personal history

The trouble with having such a deep knowledge of my family history is I find I must bite my tongue when my kids speak casually of their interests. I have no desire to bog them down with the weight of our history.

When my kid says she’d like to grow up to be a dancer I want to say, “Like your great aunt.”

50s Hermine ballet538

When they learn to ice skate and say they can never do it I want to say, “But your grandmother became quite good at it living outside of Chicago.”

59 March, IL, MC skating206

When they tell me they love swimming, I want to tell them of their great-grandmother and how she swam laps every morning.


When my daughter says she wants to grow up to be an actor or director, I glance at the posters of my father’s shows framed in our home.

Ta Bouche 001

Daniel Chardin publicity 1950s

When they say they like to sing, I have no need to tell them Cherubino and Carmen are part of the legacy.

opera 104

I’ll wait to tell them. Wait to show them the reams of photographs. Let them explore their interests without the weight of that knowledge.

I always felt a bit sorry for the children of the celebrities I knew. All of that privilege and opportunity but they’re not allowed to fail — no opportunity to play in the sandbox.

No room for failure is like a form of prison for creative people.

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