Ramblings of a Creative Mind

Thoughts on Work and the World from an Executive Mom

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Show Time


I come from a creative family and married a creative man. We both worked in the arts for years and encourage a love of them in our boys.  Yes, we listen to show tunes and get pumped when we sing in harmony with the kids. So, a few years back, it seemed perfectly normal when we bought a piano for me, picked up my old cello, and then added DJ turntables (yes – it’s music) and a drum set for Steve – instruments we could already play. Later, we added the saxophone and a guitar, and while the extent of my guitar playing skills begin and end with one cool *ss riff, it still made sense.

Then one day, the Hubster brought home the ukelele.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The ukelele is a pretty cool instrument. There’s something quaint… perhaps intimate… about it. It’s four strings, a few chords and the hint of a warm, Pacific breeze. Steve bought a professional quality one and told me he wanted to learn to play it. Awesome idea, but hard to fit into a schedule that includes working on his Master’s Degree full-time, managing construction on the house, wrangling two unruly boys and keeping life moving while I’m traveling for work. So the ukelele has sat quietly on a shelf in the closet under a pile of sweaters, waiting for a moment in the sun.

Today, there was no sun. It actually rained in Southern California. It was heavy, thick rain – the kind that makes hills slide onto streets and freeways turn to shimmering rivers. My 59 mile commute might as well have been 5,000. When I came through the front door out of the darkness and into the light, my kids followed me around bouncing like manic little munchkins, and announced rather loudly that they had a show for me. Now, my blood sugar was subzero and the Hubster had made hot dogs for dinner. This is not generally a recipe for a successful evening. Still, our focus as a family is remembering that every moment is a gift, so I begged them for five minutes to decompress and promised them I would watch one more production (probably another Lego battle or charade thing-a-ma-bopper).  They guided me (and my hot dog) to my seat, our couch pillow thrown on the floor, and began the show.

The Hubster pulled out the ukelele, strummed a few chords, and the boys began to sing:

“I have a dream I hope will come true: that you’re here with me, and I’m here with you. I wish that the earth, sea and sky up above will send me someone to lava.”*

For four precious minutes, Steve played clumsy, sweet, tender chords on an instrument he barely knows, and the three men I love most in the world sang a song they’d just learned this evening. Their eyes were brighter than any star ever born, and the tears ran down my face heavier than tonight’s rain – as they are right now as I write these words.

There are times in your life that are amazing: your first kiss, when you say “I do”, or when your child is born. Somehow, tonight was just MORE. This was one of the most incredible nights of my life. They gave me a gift I can never explain. The love I feel for them is too much for this skin of mine to hold in. I’m so grateful, so humbled and so thankful that this incredible man fell in love with me and that, together, we’ve made people as miraculous as Jake and Luke.  And here they were tonight, singing to me.

Life is good. Love is better.

I could not ask for more.

*Lyrics are from Pixar’s animated short, “Lava”. If you have not seen it, RUN NOW. GO!  Or, grab a box of tissues, click here and enjoy. It’s worth it.


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Beauty in Unexpected Places

A flower blooming in the industrial jungle

A flower blooming in the industrial jungle

I am in a lot of airports for work. In fact, when people ask me where I live, I’ve been known to say “Southwest Airlines,” though I have a second home on Alaska, third on Delta and so on.  Airports used to be very grey places, filled with faceless commuters flying here or there… plugged into their iPod, iPad or laptop, and completely disconnected from everyone and everything around them. While I am often one of those plugged in people, I’m making a conscious effort to unplug a little while I travel. After all, work travel sounds exciting, but spending days on end away from the family and in crowded airports can be a drag after a while.

So now I’m looking up instead of looking down. And you know what I’ve seen over these past few months? Airports are often things of beauty or of mystery. Who are all of these people that surround me? That I brush up against as I move through a crowd? Where are they headed, and why? It’s an endless puzzle and the makings of a great story. I love watching the families making their way along; the little ones’ eyes filled with wonder. Who are the business people on the phone, making big deals, and anxious to get home? And what do I look like to all of them? Do they even notice me? It sure is a surprise to many when I catch their eye and smile. Unconsciously, and then consciously, they always smile back.  And the airports can be beautiful. I’ve seen murals in Denver; sculptures in Phoenix; birds in flight in Sacramento; and a really kickin’ Harley in Orlando. And I met Sarah – a lovely waitress at the Mexican joint a few days ago. Sarah was a flower in the middle of all that metal and steel. I loved her hair (pictured here) and her sparkle as she sent weary travelers on their way.

So this post goes out to Sarah. Thanks for great service, some funny stories, a fantastic smile… and for reminding me that it’s all a matter of perspective. Life is a beautiful thing, after all