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Monday, February 25, 2013

And the award goes to.....

I have a confession. I really thought I was going to win an Oscar.  When I was little I would watch the speeches just like every other little aspiring actress and would dream of the day that I would be on that stage holding the Academy Award.
I was going to thank my parents, my dog, cat and my friends.  I was going to mention the bully in my class so I could show her that being weird got me somewhere.
The thing that is weird about the Academy Awards is that most actors and actresses are shy and only want to be in the spotlight when they are playing someone other than themselves.  I am terribly shy until I get to know someone. Once that happens, it is hard to keep me quiet.   A friend of mine once compared me to a campfire. I was hard to start, but once I was lit I was on fire.
When I moved to Los Angeles I continued my acceptance speech writing. It changed as I grew older, but I always started with thanking my parents.  The problem was, I didn't know how I was going to win the award when I didn't have any job offers. I started to wonder if I was more intrigued with being recognized as a person, than any acting performance.
My speech writing came to an abrupt halt when an agent who was ready to sign me told me that he would be happy to work with me, but on one condition. That condition was that I needed to lose around 20 lbs.   He told me I was too "thick" for television and film.  I understand that sometimes ugly people look great on camera, and sometimes beautiful people look hideous.   He wanted me to take up less space to make a bigger impact. You would think it would be the other way around.
I could not have lost 20 lbs without starving myself, and the sad thing was, I considered doing it.  For perspective I was a hefty size 4. Years of a childhood dream were easily put to rest by an off handed comment that an agent said.  For as thick as I was, it broke me in two.  In retrospect, this was a perfect test.  There are several funny and talented women who come in all sizes. In fact, the actresses that are the best at their craft are the ones that transcend beyond their physical appearance.  Can anyone tell me what Maggie Smith's body type is? No, because it doesn't matter. She is brilliant, wrinkled and has so much beautifully raw talent, it is hard to keep your eyes off of her.
If I was really driven to act, then his opinion wouldn't have bothered me as much. But the truth was, I must have been looking for an excuse to get out and he gave me the perfect opportunity.  I didn't see this at the time, but shortly after that, I met Don.
My visions of an Oscar seemed to fade and the only thing I was interested in was winning Don's attention.  If he thought I was thick, it certainly didn't bother him.  He came into my life just at the right time.   By all appearances, I was doing fine, but that is where my acting ability came in handy.  I was in a very dark place and he came in and opened the blinds.   I wanted to be the girl that he saw when he looked at me.
The recognition I so desperately needed came from him and for the first time while living there, I actually felt seen. And it wasn't for doing anything. I was a cocktail waitress in college who ate cereal for dinner, but he didn't care about that.
He was the foundation I needed to build my self worth back up.
It is no coincidence that the second song we danced to at our wedding was "Brick house".  The lady's stacked and that's a fact, ain't holding nothing back.
Thirteen years later and a lot has changed. I do have an Oscar, but I had to give birth to him and he is more valuable to me than any statue could be.
Sure, I watched the red carpet arrivals, and I do have a little bit of regret for tossing in the towel so easily. Unlike most of those people, I was able to walk down my own red carpet, but it was in a church. I hope I only walk down it once too.  And if there was an academy of motherhood, I hope I would at least be nominated.  Especially after this morning when I learned that scrabbled eggs were offensive to my eight year old and my prized Oscar through a tantrum larger than any screen could capture about getting in his car seat (which he does every day).
If the Academy of Motherhood saw the hard work and dedication I put into developing this role, they certainly would be impressed. But not as impressed as I am.   This is certainly the role of a lifetime, one that requires more of me than less.  So for fun sake, here is my revamped acceptance speech.

I am thrilled  to receive this award, but honored to be nominated with all most of the other hard working mothers in this category. I wouldn't have been able to do it, if it weren't for a great supporting cast and the best supporting actor. It takes a lot of patience and it would not be possible without the help of my parents.  Nobody can prepare you for a role like this, it is the hardest thing I have ever done and there have been many times I thought about quitting. And to that bully in grade school, guess what? I handed down my weird gene, and birthed some of the most absurdly weird talented characters I know.  I'm glad you were normal, normalcy is overrated.
If my kids knew I had a blog, they would read this, but they don't because I don't want them to know just yet, that my world revolves around them.  And although this award is great, it means more to me that my husband sees me as myself first, wife second, friend third and mom last. "Mother" is a role, that would not have been possible had I not discovered who I was as a person first.
But I win this fictional award on behalf of every hard working mother who is the invisible backbone of her family.  Your work may not get you a statue to put on your mantle, but you don't need it. It would block your family pictures, which are all the recognition you need to know that you have already been rewarded.

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