When willing…

On Fridays Kate, over at Five Minute Friday, hosts a fun writing prompt and link up. Over the summer I’ve been so busy, that I haven’t been great about joining in, but I’m back to day. (ready and… Willing! ha!)

Basically, we free write for five minutes, using the prompt… And here, I go-

Last night my husband and I were driving home when we nearly hit a dog. Reluctantly, at my insistence, my husband pulled the car over and I jumped out. The beautiful, and obviously very brave, German Shepherd came straight to me. He was so sweet, and also traveling with an adorable Pit Bull friend. They were both so loving, and one had a limp. They’d come running from the parking lot of an animal hospital, so my first thought was that this was all somehow connected.

There were people to call, weren’t there?

Hours later, as it turns out, there were not.

Thanks to a trusting stranger, we met in the dead of night, we followed a (cold) digital trail and eventually found the owner. Success! (despite a frustrated and tired husband, who easily could have just gone home without stopping, and was pretty determined that these sweet boys living their best lives, in our back seat, would not be sleeping over.)

This morning, my husband was putting gas in his car on the way to work, (something we were going to do last night, just before I decided to play Snow White, and rescue all of the animals) when a woman frantically approached him begging for money, for gas, because she was stranded. We seldom carry cash, so he decided instead to put $10 worth of fuel, in her car. Once their interaction was done, he witnessed her hit up several other people for cigarettes and cash, before he drove off to work, feeling like a fool.

Sometimes stepping up is hard, and ALWAYS stepping up will require sacrifice. Whether it’s money, time or a missed opportunity, something will be lost in exchange for the effort. In the end, it doesn’t matter if they were deserving. (the dogs were! The dogs were so sweet and I wanted to keep them forever, but I wanted to keep my husband more!) What matters is that we were willing to do it at all…

That’s not the worst that could happen…

Rizzo sang all about the possibility of teenage pregnancy and how grim that outcome would be, in Grease. As a child of the 80’s, I ate an afternoon snack through many after school specials displaying the very horrible ramifications of a teen pregnancy. I even, SO MANY YEARS LATER, still remember a movie from the 90’s where Brian Austin Green played a teen dad and how very difficult his life was, because of this baby. We were a generation raised on the horrors of teen pregnancies.

With a childhood being shaped during the media onset and widespread fear of Aids, teen pregnancy still remained front & center in the worst-case-scenario educations so many American kids received. I remember encountering the rare teen mom, of my day, and becoming aware of how non mystical her life really was. The fear had shaped this idea so much larger than reality. While we were groomed in the fear of babies having babies, there were realities of sexually transmitted diseases that no one really talked about.

The special guest of this week’s podcast episode has an amazing story to share about one time decisions, choosing positivity and grace regardless of the struggles we have, and how teenage pregnancy is definitely NOT the worst that could happen…

Megan, a wife, mother, advocate and inspiration shares her story of living with HIV. She sets us straight on some misconceptions and really motivates me to not allow the negative aspects of life to keep me down. Follow this link to find the various options for listening, and then tune in to Episode {38}, and Megan’s incredibly brave story.

A Mermaid Princess…

Little girls dream and act out their fantasies of being mermaids and princesses. I know many of my fond childhood memories involved splashing around in my neighbors pool with my friends Melanie and Monique. We’d act out movies we’d seen, dance horribly to music on the radio and pretend we were mermaids almost constantly.

This was raw mermaid imagination at play, well before Ariel or the mermaid trend of these days took center stage. When I look back, the only Mermaid pop-culture references I can think of were in the cartoon of Peter Pan and the Tom Hank’s movie Splash… The mermaids we became were nothing at all like those adaptations so I’m not sure what inspired us- other than the water.

I don’t recall ever pretending to be a princess, but my youngest daughter definitely did. Her imagination was princess rich, and I loved every second of it. Up until recently, society has loudly delivered the message that such aspirations belong in childhood daydreams and deserve no place in grown-up lives. This is a truly sad thing, don’t you think? I’ll admit, as a parent, I too fell into the whole dream crushing mentality of frankly selling “reality”, responsibility and that most dreams simply don’t pay the bills… And, I mean, it’s true- most dreams don’t pay the bills. That doesn’t mean we have to stop dreaming them though. (lesson learned unideally late.)

This week’s podcast guest, Jessica is all grown up. She’s a single mom. She is a first generation daughter, whose father came from the Dominican Republic. She has grown up learning to work hard and pursue relentlessly. She has responsibilities, hardships and the many  other things we all have. What sets Jessica apart is that she also has dreams, and she fully embraces them. Jessica dreams of owning her own Pastalito food truck. Jessica also dreams of being a mermaid princess. Full of so much energy, life, light and motivation Jessica is pursuing both dreams equally, in her own ways. Check out  episode {37} by following this link to our various listening platforms. As you hear her incredible story, I hope you can find a glimmer of courage to go after your own dreams too…

Too…

 

As January rolled around, I had the very best intentions of writing in this space more regularly. I won’t apologize for what appears like neglect because the truth us that I am present in my life and the reality is, certain seasons of life are far more heavy and consuming than others.

When my mother was far younger than I am, she buried her brother Ben, who died in Vietnam. From that point on, she avoided all things funeral, military and war. A devout lover of classic movies, she reacted to anything dealing with those mentioned topics with complete shock and re-immersion into that dark season of grief. Some of us make the conscious decision to house our hearts in the places of deep loss and grief forever. I have tried, in my forty-three-year-long journey NOT to be one of those people. This isn’t because I feel I am better than them as much as I personally believe the sunshine exists beyond such sadness, and my fair-skinned-heart longs to live in the sun, even if it burns sometimes.

In February I sat underneath the New Mexico sky, beside family, at my beloved uncle Phil’s graveside service. As I sat, dressed in black, heart full of tears, I admitted that military services could possibly be all of those things my mother avoided, in one. Though a beautiful tribute, they are also all-at-once devastating… I made a mental note, deliberately ignoring the reality that my son is a soldier, to not attend another veteran service for a long, long time. (I apparently have strong beliefs in my power, I am also a fool.)

Last Thursday I sat underneath the rainy Kentucky sky, beside family, at my father’s graveside service. Also dressed in black, I found myself deeply swirled in awe, sadness, gratitude and loss as the military shot rifles and meticulously folded his flag.

Too soon…

Too much…

As uncomfortable as the shotgun sounds, the sadness and the hard may be- I am so grateful to have been there to honor each man, I am so grateful that I knew and loved both men. I am blessed to have been loved by each of them, and so proud and filled with gratitude that our country belonged to them too.

This year has been equally as uncomfortable regarding sitting through the hard things and clinging to the grateful… In so many ways, for so many, it feels like too much, too soon. Too… These months are feeling too in all of the bad and sad ways. Here in the season of too though, there is growth, or at least there can be. We can choose to be among the ones who sit in the big dark sad and hide from the sun, but we don’t have to be. This too shall pass, things will be ok- this is not cliche’, this truth. It is important that we remember though, that though the sunshine will come again, so will another dark season. It is what we learn to face this time, that equips us for that one. It is also that brave, unconventionally beautiful growth which helps us love the sunshine so much more.

Take my hand, forward we go…

 

Don’t just fly…

When I was a little girl I was enamored by Dumbo. My mother loved this movie, and became a sobbing mess at the Baby Mine scene every single time she watched the VHS.

I too loved it, at first, because she loved it. I love it now for my own reasons, and admittedly I also tear up during the traumatizing melody. I know why this song pin-pricks my heart, and find myself wishing I knew why exactly that it affected hers so much…

She was not a mother, by nature.

What if, like Dumbo and Jumbo, we had lived in the Circus? What role would I play? What role would she?

She would love the animals, true. Anyone who knows her would say that immediately… However, she wouldn’t take care of them at all, really only coddle them for her own emotional fulfillment. That job wouldn’t do. No, I imagine her (though if I could ask her, she would disagree) as something between showgirl and clown. Clown Showgirl? Would that even be a thing? She would be the ever committed guys-girl, ensuing laughter with one outlandishly ridiculous performance after another. Once the night lights were dim, however, she would cast herself as a real guys-girl in other ways… Among the circus family she would be both the most loved and hated woman around.

I know this is all true.

At first I struggled to see myself…

Dirty, neglected child of a performer? Hiding with the animals, where I made friends and found solace? I imagine a childhood of days passing without seeing my mother, and seeing more her flashes of anger and belittling than the joy inducing woman seen by others, in the ring.

I know all of this is true, as well. Strip away the tent, the spotlights and the tigers and I can honestly say I have lived this childhood. A version of it, anyway.

I cannot think of Dumbo and circus life, imagining what role (within the circus) I might play, without considering my mother. It is an emotional DNA impossibility. That being said, one day the little girl would be a grown woman. She would stay with the circus long after her mother was gone because, in ways her mother never did, the girl valued family, even when family did not value her. She would care for the animals and love them as deeply as she could love anyone. She might fall madly in love with a behind the scenes designer and life would be hard, because- well, it is life- but also, circus life is hard, and this life was all she had ever known.

As time passed, she would give of herself, enabling other performers to be their very best. She would dive in and make herself needed, focussing on her ability to create, design and grow the gifts that this show could give to their audience. She would, eyes twinkling, find her most soul filling moments were when she secretly watched the children drink in the magic of human ability, animal and wonder unfolding before them.

Probably this girl would pass away in her sleep one day, an old woman, eternally unappreciated and alone. I’d like to think that it wouldn’t matter though, because she would carry the happiness she helped others find, and that she’d found joy in this too…

(Something nags at me that this post went too dark and too deep, considering it’s about a children’s movie. If you know Dumbo, and the story, it is a deep and often dark telling of so many hard to digest topics. Just like all escapes, we see only what we choose to. It is in the acceptance of the darkest parts that we find the ability to truly love ourselves completely, which is what we’re longing for others to do anyway, isn’t it?)

My birthday is on Thursday, and I will be front and center at the first local showing of Dumbo. I know it will be amazing and I cannot wait. This gift Disney has given to me, (let a girl pretend a little) is the perfect way to usher in a new life year.

Did you ever dream of joining the Circus?

What would you have done?

Are you anticipating this movie too? Here’s the trailer to hold our excitement for a few more days!

 

From Disney and visionary director Tim Burton, “Dumbo” expands on the beloved classic story where differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight.   Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) enlists former star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland. Dumbo soars to new heights alongside a charming and spectacular aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green), until Holt learns that beneath its shiny veneer, Dreamland is full of dark secrets.  “Dumbo” soars into theaters on March 29.

 

Website: https://disney.com/dumbo