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Kaleidoscope

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog. I haven’t stopped writing, just nothing I’m ready to share with anyone outside of myself, for now at least. It’s proving to be a trying year for me and next year doesn’t look any less trying, but I won’t complain because I think we all have those years. I read a saying the other day. It said, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” And that’s what I’ve been busy trying to do.

Here’s an older piece I’ve written but never posted. When I feel lost and unsure, I read it, and it reminds me why I keep trying.

At first glance my life is far from alluring or impressive. There are no trophies that adorn the mantel of my fireplace. I haven’t any certificates set in matted frames boasting my prestigious credentials or latest tangible achievements. I am not gifted with extraordinary talents nor am I even the least bit good at any sports requiring running, dunking, or serving. I have not traveled the world, I have never even stepped foot off this continent. I would say I’m just a simple girl, humble of the great things I have yet to accomplish and aspire, but still grateful for my life’s daily mediocre triumphs.

I am a mother, a wife, my husband’s business partner, my sister’s keeper, my brothers’ conscience, an executive assistant, a genuine modern day ‘Rosie the Riveter’. They are the captions beneath photos in a family album, the titles on my business card, and the roles I’ve assumed as the oldest of four. I’ve worn each hat for as long as I can remember gradually accepting my responsibilities and carrying them out with a confidence and precision that one only attains after decades of practice. Yes, I am all of those things, but I am also so much more.

I am 34 years old and have been raising a family for the last eighteen. This has been my heartbreak or my joy dependent on the day you ask. Eighteen years ago I made a mistake that I vowed to make right one day, a silent commitment I pledged as a teenager to my disappointed parents, to myself, and to the son I would come to bear three months shy of my 17th birthday. I promised to be a good mother. I would love my children unconditionally, talk to them, listen to them, and provide them with guidance. I promised not to forget my dreams and to find a way to finish school. I promised to prove that I was bigger than my mistakes, stronger than my burdens. More than anything I wanted to prevail. I wanted to make my family proud one day, someday.

I wish I could say I honored those words all the time, but I can’t. I did what I could. I know there were many times when I should have tried harder. Unfortunately, life is complicated and the best of intentions don’t always follow through as we mean them to. Nonetheless, I have managed to keep some of my promises.

In spite of adversity, I have been blessed with a wonderful and productive life. I have raised four children, all of whom adore me because I do listen and talk to them every day. I am married to the man I choose to spend the rest of my life with and I have helped him build a lucrative business that continues to sustain the economic turbulence of the last decade. I’m surrounded by an amazing team at work and I enjoy what I do. I have made my family proud, at least most of them. In hindsight I have, and continue to, prevail every deterrent set before me.

However, somewhere along the way, I did overlook the promises I made for myself. I made it through high school but not college, and I never forgot my dreams but I did put them aside. I was waiting – waiting for the kids to grow up, waiting for my husband’s business to be stable, waiting for a job with a better commute, waiting for a little more money in the bank, just waiting for a “better time” to concentrate on me and not my kids, or my husband, or my job. I was waiting for my turn only it’s taken me this long to realize that I deserve my turn now.

I like to think that my life is similar to a kaleidoscope. Peer into one end of a kaleidoscope and you are sure to see a beautiful design made up of different colors and shapes, but give it a shake and look again. You will see another pattern just as beautiful, with the same colors, same shapes. It is just a different way of looking at the same thing. Now at first glance, my life may seem dull and insignificant, maybe even common, but I dare you to take a second look. Shake the kaleidoscope. You see, my life may not seem exciting, you may even find me boring, but rest assured I am far from ordinary.

I am more than a mother, more than a wife, more than the job title hanging on my door. I have my own hopes and dreams just like everyone else and I’m not ready to let those dreams whittle away and die. I am intelligent and strong, thoughtful and loyal. I am an optimist. I am driven. I am the perpetual student, an eager learner of life experiences and academics alike. I love books, all of them; big font, small font, fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, and drama. I love words; the sound of their vowels on my tongue against my teeth, their intricate definitions and synonyms, their syllables, and the slow choppy pro-nun-ci-a-tion of a new word learned. There are few things that comfort me more than a room full of books or Webster’s New Dictionary.

I am a writer, imaginative and biographical, poetic and instructional. I dream of a bachelor’s degree in business management and a law degree after that. I dream of people reading my books and being moved to tears. I dream of fans that enjoy my characters, relate to them, hence validating their own life stories. These are my dreams, the things I secretly long for when no one is looking.

I have invested so much time and efforts helping other people pave their roads to success, for once I’d like to walk that road myself. I don’t know if a degree will warrant a promotion at the office, but I want to know that I have the experience and the credentials to offer if the opportunity presents itself. I want my children to raise their hands in class when they are asked if their parents graduated from college. I want to know I have given them that. Most of all I want to feel the pride that comes along with knowing you finished what you started even if it does take twenty years to do it. They say it’s never too late to be what you might have been. In my heart I believe it, and it is that belief that gives me the gumption to try.

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  1. Jonas
    July 11, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    Amen, sister. Do it to it!

    • July 11, 2011 at 11:09 PM

      Love that my dear friend Jonas is still reading me. And yes, I am trying my damned-est to get it done.

  2. keith s
    July 11, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    Maria, what a piece! all I can say is, you can write in way that most people can relate. True life stories! Aloha from Hawaii, Keith.

    • July 11, 2011 at 11:15 PM

      Here’s to us – you, me, @Malia421, and the rest of us trying, just trying, to do right by our own, for ourselves – to learning how to dance in the rain. Always your friend, MS

  3. July 11, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    That’s a great piece and I think we can all relate at some level! BTW, glad to have you back 🙂

    • July 11, 2011 at 11:18 PM

      Glad to be back. Workin’ on getting back my swing and my swagger. I meant to tell you, I admire that you’re consistently kicking out posts. I don’t get to read them all, but I try to read what I can.

      Much love, from one Write-On-Project fellow to another

  4. Kelleen Adams
    July 12, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    You are amazing Maria…such a wonderful writer. Thank you for posting that!!!! And I know you are an tremendous mother! Your friend, Kelleen

  5. July 14, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    A wonderful post, a great outlook on life. The one line that really stood out to me:

    “I have raised four children, all of whom adore me because I do listen and talk to them every day.”

    You’ve already graduated summa cum laude because you’ve learned to listen…

    • October 22, 2011 at 3:55 PM

      I realize I’m quite late in replying…my apologies. I tend to get caught up….in my crazy life. I remembering reading this on my Blackberry as I was getting out of the car and headed in the grocery. I meant to tell you then that your kind comments had me floating through the grocery store. Thank you.

      • October 24, 2011 at 9:22 AM

        You’re welcome!

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