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And Then, Blondie

on | in Everything Else | by | with 20 Comments

Do You Remember What You Wanted To Be When You Were Eight?

A ballerina, marine biologist, or cowgirl? Or maybe CEO of a gourmet ice cream company?

Me? I wanted to be a smutty novelist. Or a Dallas Cowboy’s cheerleader (For the pom poms, of course! Getting paid to yell sounded good, too). If those things didn’t work out, I’d be Clara from The Nutcracker.

About that first thing, can you believe I have the gall to blame it on my grandmother? Oh yes! Amidst her extensive library of Billy Graham bestsellers I found a little jewel that made me want to write . . . and blush. In Ghi’s defense it was probably a gift or something. Not the kind of thing she would read, but I’m getting off track here.

So I wanted to be a smutty novelist, but it’s not as easy as you’d think. I mean, yeah, my first self-published work, “Clifford The Big Red Dog Gets Married,” got rave reviews in Mrs. Hinson’s class, but it quickly went out of print. If you’re interested here are the cliff notes: Clifford goes on some dates. He asks. She says yes. Big white dress. The End.

But Like I Said, It’s Not Easy

My moral compass kept making everyone be faithful to each other while dancing under rainbows and weaving daisy chains. Not exactly gritty stuff. And apparently, novels need to be more than five paragraphs long and typically involve more than two characters. Also, you need lots of white out, which I wasn’t allowed to use and/or paint the cat with. So I gave up and moved on to the cheerleader thing.

Being a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader seemed like a very good idea for a good ten minutes or so, and then I realized that it is  generally – or actually very specifically- frowned upon to get halfway through a cartwheel and then flop on one’s face.

Ugh. Option #3 it is. I got a little further with that one, but in the end I decided to find new dreams.

And Then, Blondie . . .

Our tween neighbor, in all her glorious innocence, started doing crazy flips and whatchamacalits in her front yard. Absolutely enthralled with the performance, Katie looks up at me. “Will you teach me to do that?”

Don’t be an elephant,” I reply. Okay, I didn’t, but I thought it.

Did you know that when elephants are  just babies trainers often tether them with a rope to a stake hammered in the ground? They struggle to get free, but lack the strength and eventually give up. One day the elephant grows up and is more than strong enough to break the bonds, but by then the captivity is within. It simply doesn’t try.

“As you grow up and gain experience,” says this article, “you absorb assumptions which then drive your life and limit your choices. They are similar to the elephant’s thin rope tied to a post. You can break away from them with a simple tug if you want to but you don’t.”

A Simple Tug Is Right

Ten minutes flat and I was cartwheeling like an, er, maybe you should just see for yourself . . .

Mommypotamus Learns to Cartwheel from Daniel Dessinger on Vimeo.

Okay, so they aren’t that good. But that’s not the point! This whole thing got me thinking about the other ropes I’ve accepted. That novel one for instance. Yeah, the subject matter was a **little** off, but I have always wanted to write a book. And now - drumroll please – I’m doing it! About my two favorite subjects, no less. (Which are, if you are wondering, real food and babies.)

But I still can’t whistle . . .

Has becoming a parent caused you to try things you had given up on?

 

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20 Responses to And Then, Blondie

  1. That was awesome. I especially love how you stuck the landing like a champion. Next up, a round-off. (I actually think those are easier.) And Katie was an excellent broadcast partner. She may give Bob Costas some competition in calling the Olympics. :)

    When I was 8, I wanted to be a pediatric surgeon. I’m now in Corporate Communications (and also an aspiring author–I discovered you can write Christian romance novels and not have to be quite so smutty. Teehee.) Best of luck on your book!

    • Heather says:

      Hi Kristen! Checked out your book proposals and WOW . . . must say I laughed out loud at your “Guerrilla Gorilla Dating (Because Love’s Not War, It’s a Zoo)” title. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Christin says:

    Heather, this might be your sweetest post ever. Here’s hoping we can all stop being elephants. :)

  3. Momof2Groks says:

    Heather- I also want to write. Hoping to start squeezing that in sometime soon. :-)

  4. margo says:

    I love how children give you a good reason/excuse to do fun things again!
    Great cartwheels! Totally looking forward to your book!! Will it be an e-book or a paperbook?
    Thanks for reminding us to go beyond and grab life!

    • Heather says:

      I love it, too! Katie is in to bounce houses right now and I get to sit in the corner and “supervise” because Micah is so young. Fun! The book will be downloadable and I’m hoping to have it ready early this fall, thanks for asking!

  5. Emily Brown says:

    smiles all ’round on this one!!!! :)

  6. Cara says:

    You make me want to cartwheel! I don’t think I’ve ever done one! But we have no back yard, and I’m not THAT brave to learn out in public :P Can’t wait for your book, I know it’ll be great!

  7. dianthe says:

    i would trade my ability to do a perfect cartwheel for your awesomely long legs!!!

  8. Jesse M says:

    You are an inspiration! I have never been able to cartwheel, or whistle as a matter of fact. I don’t know if I will ever get the cartwheel down, but I am determined to learn to whistle….. and to look at finally doing some of the things I have always felt are my “calling” in life. Maybe not visiting space and flying jets like I wanted to do when I was 8, but things like starting school garden programs and giving more people access to the outdoors…. I don’t know how all this will happen – but I will find a way :)
    Thanks for your constant honesty, and humor!!

  9. I loved this post! The cartwheels are awesome. That is about how I do them, too. Your little one is lucky to have you as her teacher.

  10. Genevieve says:

    Not bad, Heather! And Micah is such a cutie!

    I’m not sure if parenting will nudge me toward things I’ve given up on, but I do know it will stretch me to try things I’m not so keen on. Case in point: I’m kinda ambivalent about water, swimming, beach vacations — and our little guy is a total aqua baby. Lake house and jet skis, here I come!

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Several years ago I actually got onto roller skates again for the first time in decades. I would wobble once around the rink with my son (who was in much more danger of a smashup holding onto me than he was on his own). Then I sat and watched. It was fun. Dangerous, but fun. It was rather alarming that he had the most fun when some slightly older girls decided he was sweet and started skating with him, but he loved it.

  12. Angela Richardson says:

    I love this post. I may just go outside right now and do (attempt) a cartwheel. I have been thinking I would like to write childrens books about making it through deployments and making new friends. And you are correct we create many limitations for ourselves, wouldn’t it be nice if we could all break our ropes? And remember not to limit our children. I wanted to be President when I was 9 or 10 and my great grandmother (very old school woman) told me that women could not be president. My dream was squashed, but I know now that I could do anything I wanted IF I really wanted to put in the effort and just DO it.

    • Heather says:

      Write your books, Angela! Stories are so therapeutic all around. I am terribly unimaginative when it comes to fiction, which makes me admire those that can write it all the more. <3

  13. […] how I told you I wanted to be a smutty novelist? Well, dreams really do come […]

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