Lately I find myself reading a lot of articles about successful women. I won’t lie. I envy those women. They are women recognized for their brilliance, talent, ingenuity, drive, and charisma, along with many other enviable qualities.
Women do amazing things. Women earn gold medals. Women head corporations with billions of dollars in revenue. Women are cast in Broadway musicals. Women devote countless hours to not-for-profit organizations. Women are doctors. Women run for President of the United States. Women get published.
I haven’t done any of those things. The truth is I haven’t really wanted to do most of those things. I have a degree in marketing, and I have worked in the marketing department of a small corporation. I have trained for (and finished) two marathons. I donate money to not-for-profit organizations. I have sung my baby to sleep singing all three verses of “Killing Me Softly.” I vote in every election. I write in my journal every day.
My credentials are far from extraordinary. I don’t anticipate ever seeing my name in lights. I will never be cast in a Broadway play. I will never be invited to be a guest on Oprah. Hearing my name will rarely, if ever, cause heads to turn. Does this make me insignificant? To some—yes. To many, actually.
And yet today, and every day, I take a leading role with a smaller cast on a smaller scale. That cast includes six (almost seven) key players. The casting began in May 1998 when someone very special to me chose me to star in his life. He has always given me center stage. Since then, our cast has steadily grown, and even though there may be days when I’m tempted, I won’t relinquish my leading role.
My script changes every day while remaining eerily familiar. I don’t memorize lines, but I do remember emotions, feelings, expressions, and consequences. Each day presents opportunities for me to shine in my role—or blend in with the backdrop…
This morning I was the star in my eight-year-old’s world when he asked me to make banana oatmeal muffins for breakfast. After attending a very grueling class at the gym, making muffins was almost the last thing I wanted to do. Somewhere (probably in the gaze of my son), I found the strength to whip up two dozen muffins.
On my oldest daughter’s fifth birthday she learned to ride a bike (her birthday present) with me running alongside her. That day we co-starred in each other’s life. I was so thrilled to watch her gain the confidence to take off on her own.
Other times I can see that I am a star simply by sitting on the sidelines. For example, any time my children see me in the stands at one of their basketball games or showing up early to see them practicing gymnastics, I know I am a star.
I am a star when I enter my children’s classrooms. I think it reminds them that I am aware of their “other life” and that I care about them. One year I taught “Meet the Masters” art classes in my son’s first grade class, and he still remembers that with fondness.
Some days I am the star because I make chocolate chip cookies or homemade spaghetti sauce. Other times I am a star because I manage to stay awake the entire time my daughter is reading to me (a reflection on me, NOT on her reading). I am a star when I ride bikes, go hiking, or go to the park with my children.
Perhaps you will relate when I admit that on regular occasions I take the role of the evil villain. Sometimes I am the necessary antagonist that makes for a worthwhile plot. For example, the times I insist that my daughter practice her violin before she does anything else, and some mornings I must gently remind my five-year old that cookies are not a breakfast food.
Then there are the OTHER times when I am just not being true to the starring role in which I have been cast–like the times I overcorrect, misplace my priorities, or find myself distracted when one of my children is speaking to me within a few inches of my face.
In the course of my life, there will be many things that I will never do and just as many for which I will never be famous. Yet my legacy will live on in the lives of my children. They will remember my facial expressions, my sense of humor, and a few of my really yummy recipes. As they reflect on their lives, there will be many key players. I feel privileged to have been the first one on the scene and to have a major part in at least the first 18 years of their lives.
QUESTION: How do you view your place in this life?
CHALLENGE: Take some quiet time each day to think about the impact you have within your circle of influence.
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Said this on 12-7-2010 At 07:42 pm