But I am not the only one.
Against my father’s wishes, I have, over the years, paid attention to Jane Fonda. Last week she was on Oprah. I watched her and listened to her even though in the back of my mind my father’s words echoed. I admit I became a bit angry with Jane when I found out she was a bulimic and those abdominal workouts were only half the regimen she was following.
Jane said something that hit me in my heart…she said she would always be open to learning new things, that she was curious, and that is her driving life force which won’t stop until her last breath.
I am a dreamer. I have held lofty ideas and sought even loftier goals. Like my stint as a high jumper, I have walked away from the foam pit that caught me when I jumped, cushioning my fall. Iwalked away with bruises because many times I brought the bar down with me. I never could get high enough off the ground, but it was such a rush to try. Every turn I have taken in this life has been a leap. I leapt into marriage and motherhood. I leapt into college and my heart embraced Shakespeare and Byron and Keats. Because of them, I teach English. I leapt into comedy, radio and anything show business offered me. It is the dreamer that keeps me going back to the bar, and this will be with me until my last breath.
I felt relief when I heard Jane’s words. At 50 years old, I was beginning to feel there was no place for the dreams and no strength left to bear the bruises. My ego is pretty scarred up, but the thought of setting aside my dreams has caused me to sink deeper into my couch, and to have a tighter grip on the remote control. To stop dreaming and leaping will ensure a death- my death of who I am and whatever it is I am suppose to dream next.
I am in a new season…Grandparent season. My dreams include Owen as he has become an anchor to where I need to be located.He entered the world with a beautiful head of blond hair, blue eyes and already with a strong hold on my heart. In fall we put on warmer clothes and thicker shoes. In grandparent season we wait and watch on the sidelines, for our time in the game. A little play time on the fifty yard line. In order to be called on for the next play, I need to be near by, visible with the ‘put me in coach’ look I perfected during my time as a basketball player in high school. I remember looking down the bleachers and making eye contact with coach- he would nod his head and I would run onto the court. “Here, can you hold Owen while I get his dinner ready?” I can hear the whistle blow as I step up and take the boy into my arms. Game on! Grandparent season. When the house clears of children we find ourselves with the empty nest- we sometimes fly our own coop. Then the grandchildren come, and we return to the nest and fluff it up a bit.
I have a dream of living by the mountains, or ocean or both. There is Hawaii- I would love a nice house on the island- but…I need to be close by my family. In the end, the love that we take is equal to the love we make. Most of mine comes from my small circle, my daughters and now a grandson.
One grandmother told me that grandkids love you when they are young then just like any teen, won’t really be too interested in you, then once they marry you get to sit in the Grandmother section of the church, maybe receive a rose for living long enough to have that dance. My father promised to live long enough to dance at Kristi’s wedding. He missed it by ten years. I sat in the hall that night and asked my father if he was there, and if he made it onto the dance floor. Sometimes the hope of that dance keeps a grandparent alive…it is marker, like Christmas, and Thanksgiving.
So many dreams. So many twists in my life. I once married a music man, a guitar man, with a voice that made people stop and listen. Second cannon ball splash into the world of matrimony. In my mind I compared him to Harry Chapin or Jim Croce, groovy guitar men. It is always a treat to sit and listen to guitar men and women, especially when they are singing the songs that have been born from within their own souls. Story tellers in tune. I have this belief that people who nurture their gift of music, create and play for others year after year live some sweet moments. I know when listening to song I sometimes feel connected to everything- music is a ministry. No wonder parents of every generation tries to protect their children from the wrong ‘preachers’ who, in their opinion hit the wrong notes with the wrong message. But the moral to this story is that the music man I married lives his dream. Isn’t a blessing to make a living doing what it is you were meant to do?
My father spent many years on the couch as did my mother. Not in therapy, in a TV trance. I often wonder where I get all of my lofty ideas. I am wondering now. I know I am in trouble when the couch becomes my closest relationship. 50 years old and still dreaming. I will write a book, speak about something I feel fervently about, get my fitness trainers license, open a counseling office, get my PhD, get back into comedy and not let all those things that bruised me up keep me from taking another jump.
Like Jane Fonda, I will be this dreamer until the day I die. I was more worried about not following my dreams than being wrinkled and old. The outside is aging, but not my soul. It is alive and well and pointing at my life’s map telling me to get back on the road. It is time for my next move in this new season.