…the person…not the label…

IMG_5221While my daughter’s away auditioning for a job with a contemporary dance company, I’m keeping busy putting Christmas away. Yes. Shame on me. It’s March and the ornaments, trees, tinsel, and holiday vintage collections are only now finding their way back into our garage. It usually takes a week or so to get them all up in the first place, so I’m in no hurry to reverse the whole process. And thankfully, my family is fine with the holidays lasting until spring. Then again…they’ve got no choice.

So as I’m organizing my house for the new season, I’ve a lot of time to think about my daughter’s work status which, for the moment, is in a holding pattern. Although not really since she’s a busy, little bee looking to join a new hive, so to speak.

What continually springs to mind is my daughter’s beautiful face, and with that, her great personality. They shine through despite the fact that she’s not yet landed her dream job with a contemporary dance company.

My daughter would’ve loved dancing with Staatstheatre Nurenberg Ballet in Germany. She found the movement quality and the director equally amazing. It seems Goyo Montero would himself demonstrate the choreography if he felt it would help the dancers. At an age when most directors would have stopped dancing, evidently he could still master the moves. That’ll get my daughter’s automatic respect every time.

Although she didn’t get the job, out of 94 from around the world who were invited to audition, my daughter survived the first cut as one of 12 who went on to the final round. Of those only 2 were kept. Since the director was looking for soloists, he was obviously scrutinizing every little detail with regard to their appearance, technique, and performance. That my daughter got as far as she did is a testament to her talent. The competition for jobs in Europe is even stiffer than here in America. 

Last summer my daughter auditioned in NYC for a premier Chicago contemporary dance company. Of the 300 dancers, she was one of 2 remaining. Because auditions had taken place elsewhere in the country, there were a few others being considered for the job as well. A couple of weeks later the director called to say my daughter had not gotten the spot, but that she should try again in the future. And so she’s currently in Chicago taking classes at the company’s studio, gearing up for the audition on Saturday with a call-back on Sunday.

Meanwhile, a job with a Canadian company is also on the back-burner. Its director promised to notify those in whom she expressed an interest at the Toronto audition last week. My daughter’s “holding her breath” for that one, even as she’s moving on to the next possibility. 

Of course as her parent, I would give anything for my daughter to achieve her heart’s desire. That’s every parent’s wish. And yet what I’ve learned from this whole process is that I will love her no matter the outcome. 

It’s difficult, I think, to separate the person from whatever labels we’ve assigned them throughout the course of their lives. My daughter was a ballerina, but chose to leave that position for another more personally satisfying dance job. Yet whatever it is she does, she will remain exactly who she is. And I really like who she is.

Ours is a society which labels people. We’re either upper, middle, or lower class. We’re either rich or poor. We’re either educated or illiterate. We’re either Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. We’re either Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, or middle-eastern. We’re either northerners or southerners. We believe in God or we’re atheists. We’re either “in” or we’re “out.” We’re either employed or unemployed. Even housewives like me insist upon the fact that we’re earning our keep.

Parents can get caught up in society’s labeling game so that if our children don’t “make the grade,” somehow that’s a bad reflection upon us. Against our better judgment we tend to turn against our own, siding with society’s expectations. Until we come to our senses, our offspring are emotionally set adrift to figure life out for themselves. Sometimes they do; sometimes they don’t.

Some children who can’t make it on their own for whatever reason, decide to avenge themselves against the society that labeled them as outcasts. I’m certain I needn’t remind you about all the recent shootings.

Accepting our children for who they are and not what they achieve or don’t achieve in life is often difficult. But it surely makes no sense to turn against them because others do. Who are these other people that come between you and your own? Complete strangers when you come right down to it. And if they’re so-called friends, then it’s best to get new friends. With friends like that, who needs enemies? And even if they’re family…

…i’d do what i feel is best for my own child…


friends…collecting vs. investing

Much is made of immersing oneself in friendships, and I agree wholeheartedly. How one goes about doing so is impacted by one’s childhood and life experiences. Trust is often a contributing factor, as is genuine caring for one another’s well-being.

Just Between Friends

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Making friends and keeping them is easy for some. For others, making friends is easy; keeping them, not so much. And yet for others, making friends is difficult and keeping them is easy. Finally, I am truly sorry for those who find both making and keeping them impossible.

Because of insecurities that have plagued me all my life, a direct result of my mom’s own ongoing struggles, I vaccillate between making friends easily and keeping them, and making friends easily and seeing them drift away.

In discovering my own peace within society’s expectations, I find I don’t need to collect friends…just to ensure that I won’t be alone as the years pass. Rather, I find truly investing in a few, inclusive of my husband and daughter, is enough for me.

I love people, as they are. I don’t expect them to change for me. And I desire the same in return. Trying to meld personalities is not always easy…and I don’t battle for compatibility…not being a fan of confrontation. Too much depletes my spirit…and saddens me.

Investing regularly of self, time, and energy is the only sure-fire way of maintaining relationships. Letting months go by can impact their solidity, especially in times of strife. Opening up to one another, regularly, is the glue.

English: friends like you

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My blogger friends invest as much as they can, given their own lives and responsibilities. So that’s a common understanding amongst us from the get-go. I love when they’re in my life, but understand when they’re not. But when we pick up again…it’s as though we never stopped talking. The admiration and support is still there.

Don’t just collect friends for security…invest in them fully…with your thoughts, your passions, your insecurities, your dreams…and let them do the same with you.

Demanding friends be loyal runs counter to being a friend. Accept friendship as it is offered…when it lapses…be grateful for what it had been…

…cherish the memories…and move forward…knowing that you’ve a wonderful life…and are blest for having had a few moments of someone’s time…i am…

………hugmamma. 😉

Two friends

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365 photo challenge: script

In my life in photosNancy wrote a very appropro story to go along with her photo for the word of the day, script. And those who left comments, myself included, agreed with her that trying to script scenarios for how family events play out is wasted energy, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I’ve learned that it ain’t gonna happen just because I hope so, or say so.

Most moms, if not all, will tell you that we like to be in control of things. No news to husbands and offspring, I’m sure. We also like to fix things, as in problems…lives…relationships. Again, not headline news. And we become exceedingly frustrated when life doesn’t go…according to mom. I think Mother Nature might be feeling the same way these days. That’s why she’s adding her 2 cents.

Tender, juicy roast turkey - the main attracti...

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Once, many, many years ago, my brother Ed and his wife spent Thanksgiving with us on Long Island, New York, where we lived at the time. My skills as a cook were still developing. Which is to say, I had to start cooking the night before to have a fabulous meal ready the next evening. I’ve no clue why I didn’t remember that “golden rule” for an important holiday meal with family.

Perhaps I thought I could wing it since there were only 4 of us. Maybe I was too busy  sightseeing with them, to return to mundane things like planning, shopping, and prepping for a feast. Or maybe I thought my husband would spring for dinner at a restaurant. Or could it be that I was just having an off day. Whatever it was, I was obviously following a different script that holiday, trying to involve other characters in my “screenplay” of how things should be.

When reality struck…that I alone was responsible for feeding myself and 3 others the gourmet meal that was expected for Thanksgiving, I had a meltdown…all over my husband. I must admit to having a lot of those in my 20s, 30s, and 40s. High expectations of being superwoman, was commonplace in those days. And I had been striving to be the greatest female superhero of all.

Cranberry sauce from a can, sliced.

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When I put Thanksgiving dinner on the table, the offerings were pretty meager I felt. Somehow it didn’t look like the bounteous dinners served up by others before me. Ones over which I’d “oohed” and “aahed.” I think forgetting to have corn as a side dish, or was it cranberry sauce, that made me blubber like a mad woman. I was obviously incoherent to my husband, brother and sister-in-law. From then on I think she thought I was “high-strung.” Perhaps my brother did too. And I don’t know if their opinion of me ever changed.

Thereafter I returned to following the usual script where I relied mostly upon myself to get things done…too afraid to “wing it” again. Not until I was well into my 50s did I start to relax, mostly with the encouragement of my husband and daughter who could care less about expectations, my own, and anyonelse’s.

My daughter didn’t arrive according to script, a miracle baby after my husband and I’d been married 16 years. Now a young adult she has learned early on that life is comprised of choices, decisions, and consequences. We came to this conclusion yesterday, while running errands. Her poignant contribution being…consequences. She’s learned through my mistakes, and a few of her own, that making good choices are primarily dependent upon what’s ultimately best…for her well-being.

i’m grateful that her learning curve has been shorter…than mine………hugmamma.

best gift…ever!

Twenty-five years ago today, my husband and I were blest with the perfect gift, our daughter. Without child for 16 years, we’ve counted our blessings every day since her miracle birth. Because of her we know the joy of celebrating holidays, especially Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Because of her we know what it means to love without conditions, and to sacrifice without expectations. Because of her we’ve come to accept who we are, with our own idiosyncrasies and human failings. And because of her, my husband and I have found a deeper love for one another.

Holy Family: Mary, Joseph and child Jesus

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Life isn’t perfect, it wasn’t meant to be. But being gifted with a child surely put us on a direct path to God, not always an easy one. On-the-job training, trial and error, challenges, compromises, and blending individual personalities into one smoothe-running household, was probably not even easy for Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Holy Family. But look where they are. Sitting at the right-hand of God.

But I don’t need to look that far ahead to know that I wouldn’t trade being a mom for any other gift in the universe. My precious daughter has brought me to where I belong…to my own, true self. Twenty-five years ago, today, I began my journey “home”…

and i owe it all to my daughter…hugmamma.