Author: Wendy Bornstein
Helping people is my passion, and I feel fortunate to have made a career out of it. Outside of work, my daughters are my world. As a parent, I enjoy watching them discover and pursue their own passions, and being along for the ride is fun and oftentimes surprising.
My girls are fraternal twins, adopted from Russia when they were 8 years old. That sets them apart right off the bat, but they’ve also set themselves apart in the pursuit of their dreams. When my daughter Leyla was 10 years old, she was friends with a boy down the street. He introduced her to something that has become her biggest passion: WWE wrestling.
She came home one day and asked, “What would I need to do to be able to do that?”
“You should probably learn how to wrestle,” I told her, not really thinking anything of it.
Leyla has always been very athletic and has played just about every sport. Yet she surprised me when, in middle school, she joined the boys’ wrestling team. Later, in high school, she became a varsity wrestler. She’s only 4 feet 11 inches, but every inch is muscle. She was offered a scholarship to wrestle on a girls’ collegiate team, but then she met a professional wrestling promoter who wanted to train her, and at that moment, everything changed.
It seemed like a crazy choice, given she’d be turning down a college scholarship, but Leyla explained the difference to me. The wrestling you do in school is amateur wrestling. “That’s not what I want to do; I want to be a professional wrestler,” she’d decided. So she’s taking classes at a nearby college while training at least three days a week.
Recently, she made her debut in professional wrestling. As her mom, it was difficult for me to watch, because it looked like her competitor was literally beating her up. But she is experienced, and her match was against her trainer, so I knew she was in good hands. To be honest, I don’t totally get why she loves it, but I love the fact that she’s passionate about it. It’s been her dream since she was a kid, and I support her for pursuing it.
Valeria, my other daughter, has also been involved in sports over the years, but didn’t have the same passion for it that her sister did. Her passion is photography, and she’s currently studying it in college. Last year, she went on a three-week study-abroad program to Paris and London, and the pictures she captured of the Eiffel Tower, bridges, and scenery are beautiful.
She loves taking pictures of the natural world and animals, and she has a good eye for what will turn into a stunning shot. Sometimes, Valeria and I will take a picture of the same thing, but if you look at the two pictures side by side, you can easily tell which one was taken by Valeria.
Right now, Valeria is on cloud nine because she just got a pug named Callie. We already have an 11-year-old golden doodle, Coco, and he’s the sweetest dog. The girls love him. But if you follow Doug the Pug on Facebook or Instagram, you know why Valeria was over the moon to get Callie. Like his many other social media followers, Valeria keeps up with Doug’s every Facebook move, and she’s been wanting a pug for some time now. She’s been working on me for a few years. I finally caved on the condition that Valeria would be totally responsible for her care. So far, she’s keeping her word and even gets up in the middle of the night to let Callie out.
The five of us might not be your typical idea of a family, and you know what? I love it. We are an energetic, passionate, and enthusiastic bunch. Although the girls’ dreams may take them to new places in the years to come, for now, I’m happy to have them both at home, with Coco and Callie to oversee the adventures.
This blog was published in February 2018 Newsletter.
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