If there’s one thing I’ve learned as the parent of a 1-year-old in the last year: We all have dreams for our children. Huge, ambitious dreams. And, of course, we never know what our children will become.
I can’t possibly imagine what it’s like to see your child become famous on television.
Which is why, on Monday night, I just asked.
I was talking to David Mrozinski, the father of the now quite famous Nicholas David, the musician on NBC’s “The Voice.” Nicholas is the Eagan, MN native who has advanced to be one of just eight musicians from across the country vying for a recording contract on the insanely popular reality TV show.
I met David Mrozinski at the Eagan Patch’s Voice Viewing Party at Ansari’s in Eagan. The event was as much an opportunity to watch Nicholas as it was to celebrate Nicholas’ success. And anybody who was anybody to Nicholas was there: His parents, David and Jennifer. His sister, Natalie. His brother Matthew. His nephews and one of his sons. (His fiancee and other son were unable to attend that night because she was feeling under the weather). But even his high school friends (and onetime bandmates) were there—as well as those friends’ parents.
Nicholas himself has performed multiple times at Ansari’s and is tight with the owners as well. Even the Pizza Man, who delivered pizzas to Nicholas’ jam sessions in Eagan, was on hand. It was truly a community celebration.
I covered the entertainment industry for more than 15 years. I have been a music critic, entertainment writer and a national movie critic for newspapers across the country. I have met more “celebrities” than I can remember.
I say that here because, particularly in today’s culture, it’s remarkably easy to be cynical about the reality TV craze. I talk with friends still in the entertainment industry about the entire subculture of people who flock to Hollywood with their only goal to become famous. I have seen these people myself.
I saw none of this in Eagan Monday night.
Instead, I watched as David Mrozinski anxiously paced, speaking proudly between commercials about his son. I watched as the crowd guffawed when Nicholas David told stories on the show of his own childhood, about his father, and his introduction to music.
His father, David, beamed as he would introduce me (and anyone, really) to the families of his son’s friends, and as he would tell me the importance of his own.
It was a genuine pride that had nothing to do with money, nothing to do with fame—a pride that I, now a father for the first time, understood.
The same pride as that of the Stillwater father, for example, who recently told Stillwater Patch about his 16-year-old son with Down Syndrome, who bagged his first deer this year during firearm season.
“As a dad you think about what type of activities your son will not be able to do because of this diagnosis,” Kevin Kaetterhenry told Stillwater Patch. “But David blew me away by easily passing DNR safety training.”
I am proud of my daughter’s words— “hewwo,” “puppy,” and “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” I am proud of the way she stacks cups. I am overjoyed with the way she laughs, giggles, smiles and runs. Whether she’s ever “The Voice” won’t matter to me. I’m proud that she just “is.”
As I sat around a table talking with Nicholas David’s family Monday night, I saw that just as well.
I felt like a parent, just like them:
Proud, just because.