She pulled me out of my horrendous hole I dug for myself during college. At one point, I was working 2 jobs, prop designing 2 theatrical productions, interning at 2 comedy theatres, attending comedy writing and acting classes, and enrolled full time in college. Sometimes, I would get a half day off and even rarely, a full day! I should have been writing my sketch for next class or animating that walk cycle due the next day, but my Mom would take over. She would come in and tell me that I need a break and Mamma Mia is playing at Hollywood Blvd (my favorite theatre, restaurant, bar and museum- they have a drink named “Vanilla Martini and Lewis”- I don’t like Martini’s but I do love corny takes on one of my favorite comedic duos!)
She would do this to me a lot. Often, I reluctantly agreed to see these chick flicks. Sulking on the drive over, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I needed to do for this class or that. Bah! Chick flick! You ruin my life! Bah! But at the end of it all, I really loved this time with my mom. After seeing Leap Year, I loved making her chortle in the grocery store with my Irish accent -which by the way is just grand. I loved the chick flicks that we saw. I loved sitting and reading at Borders, even ordering her drink because she can’t pronounce “latte.”
And even though she was my driving force to take a break, she is also the driving force behind why I spread myself too thin.
As you know from earlier posts, I grew up in the countryside of a super small town. There wasn’t a lot to do, until my mom got ideas of her own:
- She started a 4H club so I could enjoy it like she did growing up.
- She drove me 30 to 60 minutes away to be able to join in on countless gymnastics and dance classes, competitions, and recitals. (She also made my Dad drive me when she couldn’t.)
- She was head of Girls Scouts so she could make sure I wasn’t doing drugs… (Actually, I don’t remember anything about this period except losing my backpack because I threw it on the roof of the car before getting in and forgot to grab it. Mom reminds me constantly that I pooped my pants in Springfield.)
- She hired a Piano teacher to teach me Soccer- just kidding, to teach me how to play the Piano. My parents also bought me a piano. (Dad bought me a sheet of wood to practice my tap dancing on, too. Though they put it in the back yard because it was loud! It was amazing because it echoed through the farming hills around our home. Loved it for like 48 hours and then I was done.)
- I joined Basketball and Softball. I’m pretty sure she tricked me into this for physical activity… or Dad wanted a boy that wasn’t my Brother. (Haha, I kid.)
- If there was an art class, cooking workshop, bible school, traveling anything awesome, we would be there.
- She started Sunday school at chuch so I wouldn’t be bored out of my mind listening to things I didn’t understand.
- She put me in vocal lessons. I can’t remember why or how this happened. But it came full circle when I overheard the Jr. High Basketball coach complaining to his top player that the person who was supposed to sing the Star Spangled Banner at this weekend’s game bailed and jumped on it! He was like… Really? Boom! I did that! And I missed a WHOLE line of the song, but whatever, I did it. And I was in 7th grade.
- She put me in Band. I wanted to play the drums but the boys always put me on bells because I was the only one who could read music (because of those damn piano lessons!). I’m pretty sure she wanted me to play the Clarinet like she did in school. Sorry, Mum.
- She scrounged money together to enter me in state competitions for band and choir.
- She worked it out with my Band teacher to borrow the Marimba so I could audition for a play at the local (45 minutes away) community college. For an unconventional monologue, I played a song on it. Unfortunately, there were no roles for Marimbas in the play but the Director let me be a one person orchestra and compose the score for TWO shows! It was weird, but pretty cool how it worked out.
- She also let me have a cat which multiplied into kittens and also let me keep stray cats though she would first say no but then start to love the cat like I love the cat but not exactly the same kind of love because when I love a cat I will cry really hard because I love it so much and cry even harder when my dog or a roaming coyote would kill it. You would seriously think I lost a family member! It was insane, and Mom always thought I was going to make myself sick.
This is a lot but it’s not all. I know I’m missing things like the month we ate nothing but Watermelon because of a Get Rich Quick Scheme. I was like 3, I don’t remember this one except for a photo of me sitting on a Watermelon hill.
Unfortunately most of these opportunities fell on deaf ears. I wasn’t into any of it. I felt inadequate in all of it. Really, I didn’t have a personality until Jr. High. As well as, afraid of being judged. I saw the way kids at school would talk about each other, so if I didn’t show my true self they couldn’t say anything that would hurt my feelings. I always wanted to “fit in” and no one else was doing these things!
Now I wish I had enjoyed them because I want more of all of that now… except basketball and softball. (I’m glad it happened, but I much prefer dance and pooping my pants). And even though it didn’t fit then, these times influence me now.
I wouldn’t have amazing rhythm if I hadn’t taken dance or band. I wouldn’t be able to sing and sustain accents without the vocal training I received.
And I wouldn’t have had any of it if it weren’t for my Mom tirelessly looking for opportunities for me. And if there wasn’t any, then creating them.
And when there were none, taking me into the field and dipping flowers into paint and using the flower as a paintbrush onto wax paper. One of my favorite memories. (I’m pretty sure this is around the time my brother fell out the window.)
That and when we made a phone cut out in Sunday school. It was a direct phone line to God, which I used often for inquiring about kittens.
Thank you, Mom!
And curses, too!
You’re the reason I know I can do anything and everything.
(P.S. Mom, I know you’re going to de-brain me for using this picture but its honestly my favorite. It makes me laugh really, really hard! And laughter is the greatest gift you can give, right?)
(P.P. S. Dad, you’re note is next week.)