Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's a Good Day

When I was a young mother, older ladies would sometimes come up to coo over my babies at the grocery store or church. They would always ask, “Is he (she) a good baby?” What they were really asking is, “Does he sleep a lot?” When my children were a little older and I went to Parent/Teacher Conferences, I soon learned that when a teacher said, “________ is a good student,” what they really meant is, they can do math and they don’t talk too much. In my motherhood career, I have also learned that “being a good mother” means that your children have matched socks, folded in a sock drawer and they only eat frozen pizza when a babysitter is involved.

Good, I am now learning, can be broadened to include a few more things in life. For example, my friend Karsten was faced, a year ago, with the decision to totally give up and do something I don’t even want to think about or to “bite the bullet” and pay back to society with some very stringent strings attached. Every time I look out the window and see his car permanently parked in my driveway, while he runs to catch a bus or watch him rake my yard on a cold, Sunday morning after working all week at his job, to earn money for his insane fines, it warms my heart and I think “Karsten, you are such a good man.”

I just received a thank you letter from a lady who had been given a copy of my book. She was so appreciative. She said, “I am eighty-five years old, I was never a very good mother but I am so trying to make it up to my kids at this late time in my life.” Mothers always judge themselves harshly so who knows what was meant by that, but she is obviously still trying to be a good mother.

Our society places so much emphasis on good grades, good credit scores and good appearances that we sometimes forget the most important thing is a good heart and simply trying a little harder next time when we screw up. And what a silly question--”Is he a good baby?” As if there was ever a “bad” baby. In fact, has there ever been a “bad” kid at all? I have met a lot of freethinking, rebellious, individualistic, bright, creative, push the envelope kids but, I have yet to meet one that I would call “bad.” However, I talked to Zac yesterday. He had just got off the phone with a spanish speaking lady at the traffic school. He asked her, “Do I need to bring anything and what should I expect?” She said, “Just bring yourself and we will make you a good person again.” So if I do run into one of those bad kids, now I know where to send them!

Monday, February 8, 2010

To Dance, To Dream

As I have stated many times in the past, my heart is the heart of a dancer, unfortunately my life did not get the memo. However, with a little persistence, Heather finally talked me into attending a dance class for the 50+ ladies called “Prime Movers.” She, then, was kind enough to “midwife” me through the experience just in case I forgot to breathe. It was so fun. I will go back next Saturday, and the next. And, just like my Apple homeboy mentioned in a previous post, I have my Repertory Dance Theater homeboy to remind me of muscles I haven’t used since 1972. Did I mention, it was so fun! Oh to Dance, to Dream.

As I type this, Zac just walked in the room to tell me about the new skis he will finally have the money to buy this week. He then said, “I dream of skiing every single night, I hate waking up because I am always right in the middle of a big jump.” I have never seen Zac so happy. Oh, To Ski, To Dream.

At what point did I decide that I could not dance-even just for the fun of it? At what point did I decide that I wasn’t a good enough artist to pick up a pencil and eraser, just for the fun of it? At what point did I start putting all my dreams on the back burner to do the laundry, run the carpools and pay the bills? I think maybe it happened in college where the competition was so stiff. I think part of it happened in the eighties when I read a book called “Excellence.” Maybe it happened during the years when I simply fell in bed so exhausted at night that I forgot to dream. I am waking up now though. And, to hell with “excellence.” Life is too short!

I am finally learning, way too late, that life is to be lived, not endured. Fun is not bad and perfection has much more to do with how we love than how straight a zipper we can sew. (I think my college Clothing and Textiles teachers may have also scarred me for life!) Today is the day to “taste the strawberries and drink the sweet wine.” Today is the day to dream and dance and draw and soar and write and paint and jump and fly… and love. So ladies, ( and gentlemen if any of you read this blog) what are your dreams?