Though no one in our family has ever played basketball, my youngest inexplicably loves the game. He's been playing for 8 years and is happiest when he has a ball in his hand, shooting hoops, or when he's watching a game on TV (his recall of various NBA player stats stuns me). I believe basketball has also helped him deal with his Tourette's Syndrome, a way for him to be in a constant state of movement. His passion about every aspect of the game makes me smile.
I have another son, my oldest, who stumbled into photography three years ago and it was like watching a light bulb go off. He now works two part-time jobs to save for camera equipment and often begs his dad to take him out at 5 a.m. to shoot the sunrise (even in the winter). These days it's not uncommon to be driving somewhere and have him abruptly yell, "Mom, stop the car! There's an eagle/moose/coyote."
And, of course, I stop.
Finding something you're passionate about is a gift I understand well. No one in my family ever had any desire to write novels and yet by twelve that was exactly what I wanted to do. Nothing felt better than jotting down a story or dreaming up a plot for a future novel. At twenty, living on my own in a tiny bachelor apartment, I used to walk past an independent publisher on my way to work (I was a long-distance operator at the time). I remember standing with my hands cupped against the window before it opened each day, peering in at all those books, hoping I'd one day be fortunate enough to publish a novel myself - and eventually I was.
I'm so glad/relieved my kids have each managed to find something that matters to them the way writing matters to me. There's nothing worse than a bored teenager with time on his hands, no sense of direction, and nothing to do.