Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Little Ol' Me

I am not one for keeping up with pop culture. This is not new news. Yesterday I discovered that Mandy Moore is the voice of the calico cat in the new Disney Jr series "Sheriff Callie." That will be as close as I get to being "in the know" regarding pop culture for at least the next 6 months... Because I'm a mom.

Last week I attempted to take a break from the preschool programming and watch the CMA's--like an ordinary, yet slightly more hip mom.
(FYI-If you actually use the word "hip," it pretty much guarantees that you aren't. Dangit.)

As I watched all of these extra-ordinary people get up on stage to perform, I noticed some things:
-They make the same faces at awkward dance moves that I do.
-They are just as tired of hearing Florida Georgia Line as I am. (It was a good song. It wasn't worth making five songs about. Sorry.)
-Their voices shake when they are scared.

This is not to say that I am usually starstruck. I'm not. I hardly know who the stars worth being starstruck over are anymore. But it's nice to see extraordinary people looking ordinary. (Which happens a lot when they insist on wearing Hanes undershirts like they are actual clothes. I will never understand...but I am getting away from the point of this story...)

As the writer of a blog with a poster on the side of it that promises not to be boring, I will be the first to admit that my life is so very ordinary. I wouldn't call it boring. It's just not all that noteworthy.

I think that's why I write it. I want to find the redeeming value of my ordinary story.

When my husband's grandfather passed away a couple years ago, we each took turns reading his memoir. He had lived through the Great Depression, fought during WWII aboard the U.S.S. Swasey and Brough, fathered three children, taught as a university chemistry professor for over 30 years, was an avid birdwatcher, an active member of his community, and a very interesting man to talk to. As I read his autobiography, I couldn't help but think to myself that I would never be able to write stories as wonderful as these to leave behind for my loved ones--I would never do anything as grand or awe-inspiring as this man. But to talk to Delbert, he probably would have told me that he lived an ordinary life. Not a boring one, but that his stories were shared by many others of his time and just so happened to be puzzled together uniquely into his life.


The thing that is important to remember about being ordinary is that ordinary people are capable of doing big things. That our ordinary stories are being puzzled together into a bigger picture.

Occasionally, you recognize that you have a story slightly outside of the norm.
Once upon a time, I went to college and earned a degree. While that used to be impressive, this has turned into somewhat of an ordinary story now.


But my study buddy didn't look like other people's.




Passing out with a bottle meant something entirely different.


By the way, thanks for that, Babe.



And "Hey, y'all want to come over for a party?" didn't mean what it used to.


(Although the boys did still try...)


Whenever I have a rough season in my ordinary life, I go back to that time. I play it all back in my mind. The shock. The fear. The tears--happy and sad. The drive. The determination. And ultimately, the feeling of victory that I get when I realize I have accomplished something noteworthy. Maybe not to everyone, but certainly to me.

Of course, I didn't do it on my own. I had ridiculous amounts of help from people who love me. And I hope that if they are ever feeling anything less than special, they remember that sharing this one story with me makes them really big in my eyes.

And isn't that a golden nugget? Even when we are feeling ho-hum, we may actually be living a life that is a key part of someone else's big story moment.
(By the way, using the term "golden nugget" also takes away hip points.)


As much as I love to joke that I am getting old, I realize I am still young. God willing, I have a lot of years left in me. A lifetime of achievements left to live, if you will. And if they are half as good as Pappy's, then maybe one day I will write a book about it. And I think I will title it "My Ordinary Life."
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Just for fun, one of my favorite excerpts from Pappy's book:

My first date with Margaret [his wife] was on Halloween night, 1941. The college had a Halloween dance in Whitley Gym. There were several girls nominated for Halloween Queen and the Marpessa Club had nominated Margaret. In order to raise a little money, we voted on our favorite with a penny vote. Each club got the money that their candidate brought in. I think I spent nearly a quarter that night voting for Margaret. I only had a dime left over. She won! She didn't have a date so I asked her to go to the Chatterbox with me after the dance and she accepted. I spent my last dime on cokes for the two of us. Our first date was on Halloween night, October 31, 1941, and three years later we were married. The rest of these memoirs is a true story of "they lived happily ever after!"

Swoon. Gonna go have a coke now.

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