A month before graduating high school, I took a computer-generated aptitude test. It told me I should be a cruise ship director, so I arrived at college with high hopes of sailing the friendly seas, Paula Abdul-microphone resting cheek side and cute captain’s hat on my head.
By the time school started, I wasn’t exactly sure how that plan for my life fit into a somewhat limited supply of academic majors. So, I changed my major to broadcast journalism, hoping to take my love of children and microphones and words to Sesame Street. I figured I’d have a better shot of making it as the Famous Person I Was Meant To Be next to Bert and Ernie rather than try and land a spot on the 6 o’clock nightly news.
Midway through the year, I’d declared all hopes of public broadcasting rubbish, and instead decided to change the world as a high school English teacher.
It seemed a smarter and perhaps even more realistic major. Besides, I mused to myself, eventually I’d be crowned Teacher of the Year, and then the doors would open wide for my real shot at fame.
Eventually I did become a teacher …but I didn’t win Teacher of the Year.
And eventually I did (and continue to) spend a good deal of my time holding or having that Paula Abdul microphone rest against my cheeks, even though it’s still never been on a fictionalized Manhattan street nor atop a boat.
But I’m still not famous. And I’m pretty sure I’m not ever going to be, at least not in the way I hoped and dreamed I would be for a long, long time. Those dreams I had of being extraordinary, of making it big and perhaps – if I’m really honest – of therefore proving my Most Special Self, have come to a satisfying conclusion with the arrival of children, with the reality of time and life and maybe a slice or two of humble pie on the side, too.
Because in all actuality, I’m pretty normal. In fact, I’m average and ordinary and maybe a bit of a strange bird, depending on the day, depending on who you ask.
I’m just me.
Right now, I sit on my favorite blue and brown chair, the one with whimsical swirls and matching ottoman. My feet are propped up and a heating pad warms my mama-muscles, arms and back and shoulders that carry babies, that work to calm and soothe frustrated three-year-old boys.
Sunlight streams in from the front windows, and in the distance I can hear robins fighting for air time against the earsplitting jackhammers of our neighbors’ front driveway. Both of the boys are asleep in the back of the house, and when they wake up we’ll make our way to the Y. While they sleep I find my way through my words, digging to discover and uncover what’s already there, the truth behind a single word, a known phrase. Sometimes I read and sometimes I fiddle around the house, but mostly, usually I just sit with my words.
Life, as I know it, is pretty slow, and sometimes it doesn’t feel like there’s a whole lot of sparkle, when I know I could be doing more and being more and living more.
But really, this simple, ordinary life contains more than a lifetime worth of extraordinary achievements and advancements and awards.
On Saturday, we had our first Family Movie Night. The HBH (Hot Black Husband) got the TV all set up while Cancan and I laid out blankets and pillows, yoga mats and Bear-Bear, the oversized Costco gift of a teddy bear that also acts as an indoor climbing structure for him and his brother. We shut the blinds and snuggled together on the floor, eating buttery popcorn and holding hands and giggling at the The Aristocats.
And Cancan’s been talking about it ever since, wondering when we can have Family Movie Night again.
I sometimes I forget that the ordinary moments that make up our lives are actually more-than-extraordinary. I forget that all of these todays are the best days of our lives.
And what a gift to realize that I don’t need any more Extra-Special Ordinary in my life, because this ordinary is more than enough.
Might it be the same for you?
So, how are you ordinary? Have you embraced the ordinary in your life? I’m linking up over at Esther Emery’s blog for the #wholemama movement …and I invite you to do the same!