21 October, 2008

"She yearned to travel and write great books." -Louisa May Alcott

I've been home approximately one week and 3 days and I'm already scheming up my next 4 travel adventures. They are primarily on a small scale but they put me on the road nonetheless. Oh what I would give to just travel and not have to be concerned with finances. Something about the open road and travel...it's just, well, my favorite. If you haven't heard about "Spain: On the Road Again" you are seriously missing out. It is a documentary-style show on PBS in which Gwyneth Paltrow and chef Mario Batalli roadtrip across Spain dining as they go...

My next travels (chronologically):
-Lynchburg this weekend where many of my favorite people are converging claiming to celebrate their 'alumnus' status (but really just wanting to see friends)

-3 weeks later doing a day trip to Atlanta to see my friend Cheryl perform in Thoroughly Modern Millie

-A few days later going to Orlando for Disney audition

-A week and a half later going to Philly and DC with Ash!

Maybe I'll do Spain in 09...

16 October, 2008

On a separate, less analytical note, today I went to the memorial service of a mother of dear friends of mine-Vicki Foltz. She was driving either to or from one of her daughter's wedding showers on Friday night when she suffered a brain aneurysm. A woman in seemingly perfect health one minute was gone the next.

Vicki was a brilliant artist. She was one of the first directors I ever worked with--a ten-year-old version of me performed in shakespeare's 'midsummer night's dream' if you can imagine that! I remember as a kid looking up to her and thinking, "Wow, I wanna do something like what she does one day!" I wasn't around tons of women in the arts so Vicki always inspired me.

Years later Vicki's life has made an imprint on hundreds through her plays, classes, and music. The people she has most impacted though are her kids. I've been friend with Brandon, Tyler and Cameron since I was about seven or eight. Cameron spoke today about how her Mom was her rock. She always lended an ear and spoke truth into her life. And also blessed her family with great home-cooked meals and many, many laughs.

What a legacy. Parenting is clearly hard work. I observed that firsthand last week. But it is also the single greatest way to invest in lives. Tonight when I had the joy of sitting down to a meal with my mom and dad I looked at the home-cooked lasagna in front of me differently. How many countless meals has my mom prepared? All with love. And a servant's heart. What a gift.

Motherhood 101

Last week I had the privilege of accompanying 7 people between the ages of 6 months and 5 years old to the beach. 3 sets of parents came along too. Throughout the 8 day/8 night excursion I experienced many a wake up call, surprising moment, and new perspective. The following are a few observations I made on the trip.

OBSERVATION 1-Kids develop unique personalities insanely early. This seems sort of obvious but it is so interesting to see two preschoolers who live in the same environment have literally converse personalities. People are in part a product of their environment and the genetic traits they inherit but also just come out of the womb with distinction. Birth order has something to do with it...but some of it is literally just the specific personality God gives each of us.

OBSERVATION 2-This is linked to observation 1. Previously when I've encountered a child with an unbecoming personality trait I consciously or sub-consciously blamed the parents. It was somehow their fault. A kid with a sour disposition cannot be 100% blamed on a parent's childrearing.

OBSERVATION 3-Parenthood can be increasingly less stressful when finances are not an overwhelming concern. This makes sense. It's one less thing to worry about.

OBSERVATION 4-Oh. This is a biggie. Maybe the most noteworthy thing I recognized for the first time in my life. (Which is ridiculous by the way.)


Which leads to my conclusion that wives should have the ultimate say on how many kids to have.

OBSERVATION 5-To decide to have kids you must be so completely overwhelmed with the desire to have children that you are ready to give up all self-focus. You are no longer "[Insert name here.]" You are Mommy. So you better be ready. It's a whole life shift.

OBSERVATION 6-The constant supervision and care that small children need can be utterly exhausting. Sleep never feels like enough.

OBSERVATION 7-A good husband/father makes parenthood so much more enjoyable (bearable?). If they have the desire to pitch in and help and then actually do it the whole experience is improved for the mother by leaps and bounds.

OBSERVATION 8-Potential for being a good father (or mother) should be among the criteria considered in dating. Parenthood is for a majority of people a huge aspect of life. Marrying someone who would make a good father or mother is critically important.

OBSERVATION 9-The week at the beach severely diminished my (perhaps) romanticized view of parenthood. Taking care of kids 24/7 is a much more serious task than babysitting for a few hours. I was reminded that every season of life has joys and perks. Parenthood is something amazing in its time. I look forward to being equipped and ready when the day comes. For now I'm happy with my graham cracker-less life.