As former film students, my husband and I love to geek-out when Academy Award season rolls around. Yes, I understand that this is an evening when all of Hollywood comes together to celebrate and focus on themselves, to fully indulge in beauty and facades, and to keep talk seriously shallow ranging from looks to performance.
Sure, there are plenty of more important things out there to think about other than "What is Jennifer Lawrence wearing?" or "Did Ellen just order pizza?" But, ever since childhood I have fully gawked in awe at the spectacle, and I thoroughly enjoy the production regardless of it's superficial flaws.
Every year, Josh and I print out ballots and do our best (okay, I'll admit I get frighteningly competitive) to pick who we want to win as well as who we think will win. I warned you, we get into it. (This is my Superbowl, people!) This used to be much more fun and filled with discussion surrounding our rationale behind our choices; but that was before children were in our lives, back when we actually saw most of the films that were on the ballot!
Now, we sling-shot our answers blindly onto the paper, fingers crossed. Needless to say I did poorly on my ballot this year, and it doesn't really matter apart from the fact that it made me stop and realize just how much the littlest, most trivial things in life have a tendency to change when you least expect it.
Parents of young children know exactly what I'm talking about. Maybe it's not the Academy Awards for you...maybe it's music, or fashion, or just keeping up with the news on a weekly basis. But, there's something about having kids (oh, wait, their incessant neediness is probably what it is) that completely sucks out one's ability to stay "with it" when it comes to things that so vibrantly used to impact daily life.
Do you know what I'm talking about? Sometimes I feel like if I never made it to the grocery store or inside Target I really would have no grasp of what is happening outside of our little home. I can tell you exactly how much cereal we have in our cabinets, totally recap the last episode of Curious George for you, and tell you every single My Little Pony character (cutie mark and all), but I have no idea if capris are a fashion no-no for the Spring or why I think American Hustle should have won more Oscars (I haven't even seen it yet! But it still gets my vote for coolest movie trailer and best/worst movie hair!)
All this to say - we each have our little pieces of ourselves that we cringe about when we realize they've been gradually replaced by our children's needs/wants/loudness. It's good and bad. It's wonderful and disappointing. It's frustrating and rewarding. IT'S NOT FOREVER.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that it's okay to hang onto the silly parts of me that simply just make me ME. I'm a gal who LOVES the stupid Hollywood gossip mags at the hair salon (which, no, I have not seen the likes of for several months) and looks forward to the Academy Awards each year. I'm sure you have your own stupidly wonderful guilty pleasure, and part of being a parent usually means laying some of that to the side (or drastically compromising) as your focus is needed elsewhere.
While the Oscars are a fun night to gawk at Hollywood glam, it was a good reminder for me to take pride in even the tiniest of things that make up what I like and don't like. Sometimes, as a mother, it can be so easy for me to lose sight of the importance of this. Mothers are so busy placing their attention on others that we tend to drown out our own voices by the loud and distracting mix of those around us.
I might not have a gold statue to show for it, but I'm determined to hang onto these tiny parts of self. The reward of nurturing my own needs will infiltrate the course of my parenting. While this might look like knowing My Little Pony characters now, it won't forever. Just noticing and acknowledging the little things in my life that help define my preferences will empower my own daughters to create their own.
While I'm vicariously living through the glamour of Hollywood from the comfort of my own pajamas, I'm convinced that the real award of the night is going to be found years later, when I don't resent my kids for changing that young mother who used to love film. As sweet Lupita Nyong'o (how gorgeous was she?) said at the end of her acceptance speech, "...no matter where you're from, your dreams are valid." I couldn't have said it better myself.