Thursday, June 28, 2007

The impossible dream...

If you read the title of this blog and heard music in your head, you're not alone. But it's a different song I'm singing these days. Life has been crazy both at work and at home, but I saw something last week that touched me deeply and inspired me a great deal.

I sometimes watch America's Got Talent, but had never seen the British version before. Somehow, I found a video of the winner of Britain's Got Talent, Mr. Paul Potts. Potts is an unassuming man; a bit large of build and quite humble. He took the stage with the confidence of someone who has known ridicule. He stated that he was a cell phone salesman and sang opera. The judges were as disbelieving as I and the rest of the audience were. If you watch any reality shows you know that when they give you background on a contestant it can only mean one of two things: great talent or a complete absence of talent. I hoped that Mr. Potts would do well and not be destroyed by the judges.

And then the most amazing thing happened. This average man opened his mouth, and the most amazingly beautiful tones emerged. He sang Nessun Dorma, my favorite opera piece (not that there are many to compete with it). Within seconds my eyes welled with tears, and I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. There was just something about that voice and the soulful eyes of the man who sang. He looks like someone who knows pain. The crowd adored him, yet he looked as if he expected a rebuke from the judges. They also loved him.

In later rounds of the competition, Potts revealed that he had been bullied as a child. His voice was his best friend and comfort. He was in debt due to medical problems, and very nearly didn't even audition. Luckily for us all, his wife encouraged him to pursue his dreams. Click here to see his first appearance.

I'm sure that you have figured out that I am more than a bit sentimental by nature. I can be sarcastic and doubtful, but it is merely an act meant to protect the tender workings of my heart. And this man touched my heart. I wonder if I would have the courage to pursue my dreams in such a manner. So often it seems we all get bogged down in the day to day, that we forget to even dream, let alone pursue our dreams.

We are often martyrs. Unintentionally surrendering our dreams for the greater good, we think that our suffering will make things better. I'm not saying that self-denial is a bad thing. But maybe we need to be clear on just what the benefits will be.

I have been eyeing a sewing machine for a few months. I've wanted an upgrade for some time, and finally picked a good candidate. But did I buy it? Of course not! My 9 year old machine works fine. The buttonholer doesn't work, but the other 12 stitches are okay. The machine I want has over 60 stitches and many improved functions. It's not outrageously priced. But I cannot buy it. It's too much to be spent on just me. I tell myself that the money would be better spent on other things for the family.

The only problem is, I couldn't show you what we did instead. I can tell you that instead of spending money on a fence, we spent it on new french doors instead. The improved security and insulation are tremendous (especially since our old sliders were propped shut with a broomstick). I can tell you that instead of buying Mimi some flowers for Mother's Day, we paid our way into a state park and spent all day with the girls instead. But I practiced self-denial and have nothing to show for it, except the ability to say that I went without.

And so it seems to go with many dreams. I cannot tell you why I haven't tried harder to follow my dreams. I can only say that I haven't. I probably think that I have done this for the betterment of my family (i.e. in saving money or being around more), but wouldn't my family be better off with someone who isn't afraid to try?

And I imagine that a big part of the problem for many of us, is that we cannot clearly state what our dreams are anymore. I no longer dream of a career in pop music or of being an astronaut (two of my early career choices, though I also wanted to be a waitress). I tend to know what I don't want, but can't always say what I do.

My goodness! I certainly didn't mean to wax philosophical. Maybe it's the stormy weather or that fact that my father is quite ill, but either way I need to lighten up and dream a little dream of me.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Father's Day

This Sunday is Father's Day. So how will you celebrate?

As I am lucky enough to have a father and father-in-law who are still living as well as having a husband who is a father (and yes, I mean to my children. If there are any other children of his out there you may soon notice a drastic change in the tone of this blog.), we will be celebrating a multi-faceted Fathers' Day.

For my father-in-law, I have purchased a "funny" card. I leave the choice of gift up to my husband. Since Woody's folks (Mimi and Poppy) are leaving for a cruise, we won't be seeing them this weekend.

For my dad, I have also purchased a "funny" card. I plan to go out tomorrow and pick up his gift. And how do I show my love for my dad? With a Mr. Coffee Iced Tea maker of course! Sure he has one already. And even though it is several years old and missing one small, unnecessary piece, it works fine. But sadly, this is what it seems I've come to: buying replacement items for gifts. My folks are lucky enough to be able to buy the things they really need and most of the things they really want. Anything he wants that he can't buy would definitely be beyond my reach. So since the old man likes his tea, a tea maker it is.

And Woody? He will be the lucky recipient of a Flip Video digital camcorder. Is this because he's such a great dad and husband? Perhaps. But it's mostly because I think it's really cool. I know that Woody will like it, but that I will use it more. But since I will be using it to capture moments that he is missing due to his crazy work schedule (which I swear is meant to punish those with young families), it still seemed appropriate. And in case you were wondering, yes, I also bought him a "funny" card. This one was approved by Miss B however. Woody will be off on Saturday instead of Sunday, so we will celebrate with him tomorrow.

Since I am lucky enough to live near my folks (Granny and Papaw, as they are known to my girls), we will spend Father's Day with my father and his grill. My dad is a steak and potatoes kind of guy. Okay, he's actually a steak and cheesy-potatoes kind of guy, but you get the idea. He loves steak on the grill whenever the weather is agreeable, so I foresee a steak dinner on Sunday.

My dad and I didn't always get along when I was a kid, but we are close now. I'm lucky to have parents who are people I'd like even if I weren't related to them. And the girls love them too. Sister Goldenhair, in particular, adores her Papaw. She can't quite say "Granny" yet, but she can say "Papaw" with an ease and devotion that is sweet to behold. He teases her and tickles her, and she shrieks with laughter every time. Sometimes I'll even hear her call for him from her crib as she first awakens. I'm so glad that both girls get to spend a lot of time with their grandparents. Mine always lived at least two states away, so I only saw them a few times a year. My girls usually see both sets of grandparents at least once a week.

So is a tea maker a good gift for a great dad? When every meal at home was accompanied by a pitcher of iced tea, and your dad's favorite white cup is stained beige from always holding tea, and the only accepted family shorthand is the rattle of ice in an empty glass as a call for refills of sweet tea, I think it'll do nicely.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A fear of the fearless

Sister Goldenhair has become fearless of late. And I'm rapidly becoming a nervous wreck. Sure, I sometimes admit to quite a bit of white-knuckled parenting and days spent pondering the chances that my kid's cough is merely the first symptom of bubonic plague. But this is the big time.

My little monkey has become fearless in the water. She spent time at Mimi's house (Mimi is Woody's mom and the best mother-in-law a girl could have) yesterday and had a blast in the kiddie pool. So much so that Mimi felt compelled to warn me. It seems that SG was putting her face in the water, laying on her back in the water, trying to float, and generally trying to become a water dog.

And while part of me glad that she isn't afraid of the water, another part of me is terrified. As is my nature, I began to worry when Mimi told me all this, but I was worried more about her getting into a kiddie pool without supervision. Then I put my filthy kids in the tub last night for a bath. SG merely saw this as another pool. She laid down completely in the tub, water lapping at the edges of her cherubic face, and kicked her feet. She delighted in covering as much of herself as possible with water. And thanks to her independent streak, she tried to climb out of the tub while I was unfolding her towel. Small, wet children and slick, bathroom surfaces never combine well, and she fell back into the tub. Unharmed and undaunted, she prepared to try again. I helped her out, much to her displeasure, and felt my stomach sink.

While I wouldn't leave her unattended in the tub before, I can no longer feel even remotely non-petrified at the thought of her near any quantity of water. She can somewhat clumsily climb into the tub unassisted. Miss B is not afraid of water, but she gets nervous in a pool. Since she cannot yet swim, I think this is healthy. But what to do about SG? Do you try to make her see the dangers? Can a child of not-quite-2 understand without becoming phobic?

Well, at least I have an exciting new fear to keep me on my toes. Sometimes I long for the days when Miss B was a baby and I was blissfully unworried. Sure, I was concerned about lots of things, but not with the nearly hysterical fervor that seems to grip me these days. It's my job to keep my girls safe and healthy until they become adults, but so much is really beyond my control. What to do, what to do?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Introducing indywriter...

I know you're bound to be so excited you can hardly contain yourself. "indywriter is finally blogging," you say.

Sure. That's it exactly, right?

Okay, so you probably aren't even sure who indywriter is. It's me! (I'm sure that cleared it all up for you.)

I am a do-er of many things. I am most busy with being a mom to my two lovely girls (that's them in the picture). While I do work outside the home, I find that I still spend a hefty portion of most days worrying or otherwise thinking about my girls. If I never do another thing in this life, I am blessed to be a part of them. They are beautiful inside and out, and have such strong personalities.

Miss B is six years old and starts first grade in the fall. She wants to be a "pure ballerina" (which means she wants to wear pretty leotards and pointe shoes). She was reading before she started kindergarten and has a habit of asking the hard questions. She likes to wax philosophical about many topics, but still loves to do kid stuff and watch cartoons. She keeps me on my toes. I never know what she's going to say.

Sister Goldenhair will be two in July. She is rapidly developing her vocabulary and seems to change with every day that passes. She has spent all of her short life attached to me in some way or another. But lately, she's been digging the daddy. I am glad for him and for her (and for me!). She's still my shadow, but it seems that her meltdowns are less frequent and her personality grows more sunny with each passing day. She is a hoot, and quite the little lover. Soggy kisses and pats on the back are her specialty. She learns quickly and is obsessed with remote controls and phones.

Miss B and SG are two of the loves of my life. My husband would be the other. Woody greatly enjoys carpentry and golf (yes, I am clever with the names... thanks for noticing). Woody and I have been married for almost 9 years now. He's fiery (that means red-headed and frequently short-tempered), but great. I'm a lucky woman any way you look at it.

As for me, I like to read, sew, cook, shop, scrap, sing, play, dance, take pictures, and so much more that this list could go on for some time. I will likely share lots of different things here, but who knows? Thanks for reading!