Beautiful Ride

The somewhat self-indulgent rantings about the beautiful ride that is my life!

Thanks for the Memories…But I’ve Had Enough! June 21, 2011

Filed under: beautiful ride,Family,Home — beautifulride @ 8:34 am
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I remember the first time I laid eyes on you, nearly a dozen years ago. I was standing alone on the lot…my husband at work, the children divided up between school and a friend. I was in a rush, no surprise there…and wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for…and then I saw you…the early autumn sun shining down on your body of steel…and I knew I had to have you. I loved your deep bordeaux color, and the fact that it was named after a favorite wine didn’t hurt! I loved that you could accommodate my expanding figure–7 months pregnant behind the wheel is never pretty and always a tricky fit. I loved that you could easily carry 2 car seats and a booster and your automatic sliding door, well, what a treat that was for someone who always had a bag of groceries, a bag of diapers, and scads of babies dangling from my shoulders, arms and hips. But all of that was just icing on the cake. You had me at 5-star safety rating. Hook, line, and sinker!

Over the years, you treated me well. You safely brought a new baby home from the hospital. You carefully took many trips back to the hospital over the years, spending countless nights in the parking lot, waiting for boys to get well and get home. You’ve taken us to beautiful destinations, crossing the country more than once–east to west and north to south. You’ve lulled your passengers to sleep and your sound system has helped keep your drivers awake. You were strong and brave, taking the hits more than once to protect your precious cargo. Remember the time the dump truck in front of us just stopped, and started moving in reverse, oblivious to the sound of your horn and the screams of your passengers. The sound of your crunching front end stopped him in his tracks. You were damaged, but we were all safe in your cabin. And I’ll always be grateful for the time you put your front end between a new teenaged driver and the hit-and-run menace that ran a red light. Another ding in your fender, but I was glad it was you and not the smaller, weaker car that he could have been driving.

Yes, over the years, you were there for me…for us. A  home away from home as we travelled to weddings and from funerals. You were a sweet ride for 6 as we headed to family gatherings and celebrations, to visit friends, to move to new homes in new states. You’ve witnessed joyful homecomings and tearful goodbyes, heated arguments and heartfelt apologies, tender moments and difficult conversations. You’ve been filled with spilled soda and squirted with juice boxes. You have had mud tracked on your floors, cheerios stuck in every crevice, papers strewn on every surface. You’ve been the “recipient” of many a carsick child’s “gifts.” And we’ve shared music and singing and laughter…so much laughter. Yes, for many years you were very good to me.

But then things changed…you changed. You started to become unreliable. You were no longer the trusted friend and knight in shining armor that you once were. I forgave you when you left me standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona. I thought it was a fluke…that you were expressing your love of the Eagles and just giving me another story to tell from my cross-country trip that I made with 4 children aged 4-13, while my husband waited to greet us in New Jersey. But things slowly went south from there. You started to leave me standing alone more and more. In parking lots, on major highways, on city streets. Dead batteries, blown tires, burnt transmissions…the list goes on. I felt betrayed…abandoned. But, like the girlfriend that runs back to her man every time he says “Baby, I’m sorry…I’ll be better, I’ll try harder,” I took you back. Well, first I took you to the mechanic via the AAA tow truck that I had on speed dial…but then I’d take you back. And you’d fail me again, and again, and again. Would you start when I needed to go pick up the kids…maybe, but only if  I could successfully slip you into neutral. Would the reverse lights ever guide me safely down my driveway again…probably not. Would the sliding door ever close and latch again without leaving the front door open…doubtful. Would the driver side window open when I needed to pay the tolls on the Garden State Parkway or the Pennsylvania Turnpike…no.

I thought you would change, with enough money and enough attention, but I was wrong. I tried everything I could think of to make it work, after all, we’ve been together for 12 years. We’ve shared a history, we’ve shared memories, we’ve shared 154,000 miles. But I’m older and I’m wiser than I was when you drove into my life all those years ago. I’m not willing to put up with that kind of bad behavior anymore. So I’m kicking you (or towing you) to the curb and moving on…to a sweet ride that will treat me right…at least for the next 3 years and 3 month. Don’t be sad, 2000 Ford Windstar Minivan with auto sliding doors and seating for 7, I’ll cherish the memories, but I’m moving on. I could say it’s not you, it’s me…but it’s you.  I’m not making excuses for your poor treatment anymore. I deserve better! So 2011 Ford Flex with 5 star safety rating, Microsoft Sync, leather upholstery, seating for 7, retro white roof and a body of shining silver like Sir Lancelot himself–I’m all yours baby…let’s hit the road!

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Just Doing What They Do June 15, 2011

Filed under: beautiful ride,Family,Home,Music,Pets — beautifulride @ 8:01 am
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One of my favorite things about being a Mom is watching my boys find the things that make them truly  happy…the things that  light a little spark inside of them, and then watching that spark turn into a passion and a fire that they feel deep down in their soul. I’ve been lucky, because my guys seem to have each found something that they love to do…something that they keep doing because, for whatever reason, it is so vital to them that they can’t NOT do it. In our home, at this moment in time, the breakdown is something like this. Grant, my youngest, has happy feet–can’t stop dancing, running, jumping. He has 5 years of dance classes under his belt at the tender age of 11, and although he plays football, and wants to add basketball and baseball to his list, he tells me those sports are “only the appetizer, dance is still the main course.” Aaron is 15, and he is also all about performing. He sings, he acts, he dreams of movies and television and stage. And he doesn’t just dream about it, he really works at it. He’ll audition for anything, take the smallest role and work it with everything he’s got. He practices, studies, takes classes. And when I see him performing on the stage, I can see that he is happy. Max, at 17, prefers to stay out of the limelight, but is no less passionate about the things that are important to him. A quiet, but avid activist, Max is the first to volunteer for something that could improve the life of another; whether it is teaching children, heading to Appalachia to improve homes, lending a helping hand in New Orleans, or doing a task for me at home. Even as a little boy, he would get so angry about  injustice and inequality–even if he was on the winning end of the stick. He questions the status quo, speaks out against intolerance and prejudice, and truly believes that we can BE better, DO better, LIVE better. Zach, my oldest at 20, has a real passion for music. Back in the day, when he would do crazy things like cut school, it wasn’t to hang with friends or get into mischief. He would come home and practice that guitar for hours and hours and hours, racing home to it like it was a Siren calling him to the sea. He practiced everyday, studied different styles, bought every instrument he could get his hands on…and telling him to put down the guitar would be like telling him to cut off his right arm.  

Now, before I come off as THAT Mom…you know…the one who is convinced that her children are  THE most beautiful, wonderful, talented, perfect, smartest, best thing since sliced bread, let me just say that I do TRY to keep my Mama Rose tendencies in check. It’s a difficult, fine line we parents walk when our children are passionate about something. As the Mother Hen, we want to protect them from criticism, hurt feelings, and rejection. We want them to always get the part, the lead, the gig, the job. We want to put them in a safe little bubble, where nothing can hurt them, where no one will challenge their opinions or destroy their confidence. BUT, we don’t do them any good when we tell them they are perfect at everything they do. So we try very hard to walk that line, reminding them to dance for the love of dance and to sing for the love of the song. Not to write a song with the hopes of winning an award, but because you have something to say–and lend a helping hand to those that are struggling and suffering through injustice and intolerance not because it’s the cause of the month, but because you know in your heart that it’s a wrong that needs to be made right. And we remind them again and again that if they really love it, to dig in and work hard and don’t take anything for granted.

I believe (in my crazy Mom mind) that is why my guys just do what they do…they sing and dance and act and write and speak out because they can’t help themselves. And Lord knows, their areas of interest do not necessarily lead to the most lucrative futures, but you know what, I would rather see them make a modest living doing what they love than make a fortune doing what they hate. I hope they always, always have the courage to chase their dreams!

*Ok, now the “Mama Rose” posting of the talent! Actually, Aaron just had a recital and he asked me to post these songs for his Grammie, especially his duet with his friend Marnie (whose voice is spectacular). I apologize for the video quality, the spotlights mess with the flip camera, but you get the idea! Aaron knows how much Grammie loves “Phantom of the Opera” and he also knows that she is not on facebook, but does read the blog. Actually, I think my wonderful and supportive Mother-in-Law is my biggest blog fan–how cool is that! So Grammie, get out the tissues, and have a seat–this is from Aaron for you!