May 22, 2013
Image credit: OldBarnRescueCompany on Etsy
I stood on the stage and paused for a moment, taking in the hundreds of little faces staring attentively at me. To my right was a wheelchair, a somewhat sleeker black version than the rickety one I’d used in the hospital.
Slung across my body was what looked like a large square purse to the kids, but essentially held my heartbeat. It contained two heavy rectangular batteries, each the length of an old videotape, connected to wires that led to a donut-sized heart pump implanted in my abdomen.
My jeans carefully masked the titanium metal bar that now served as my leg. I was 16 years old.
The program was called “Everybody Counts.” For a week, children in the elementary school tried out wheelchairs for a shift in perspective, and I was the culminating inspirational speaker.
May 21, 2013
In the summer of 1985, when I was twenty-four years old, I think most people would have described me as a "promising" young actor (I'm not sure, and I'm not sure I want to know, how they would have described me as a human being).
I had already been a working professional for most of the past seven years, and had an impressive assortment of leading roles on Broadway and in films under my belt -- enough to be considered "accomplished" in many other arenas.
But "promise" is how we often measure things in this life, and the "promise" of more is what often motivates as we meander (or march, or muddle) our way through.
Then, in mid-September, after a lingering flu led me to various doctors' offices, I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, and told it was "treatable, but not curable."
May 20, 2013
Image Credit: TheEducatedOwl on Etsy
It has been almost 5 years since I lost my mother and other family members to a horrific tragedy. They all meant the world to me, but the love of my mother is like no other.
She was my biggest cheerleader, my reality checker, my nurse, my therapist, my critic, my guide, my teacher, my helper, my friend, and NOW—my angel.
She helped shape me into the person that I am. I miss her dearly and there is not one day that goes by without the memory of her smile, love, and spirit, flashing through my mind.
The past four Mother’s Days have not been easy. The routine since my mother’s passing has been: go to mass, go to the cemetery, go to brunch or dinner and spend time with my mother-in-law.
May 17, 2013
Trust me, I‘m not about to judge how anyone faces the ch-ch-ch-challenges of aging.
Having just celebrated another birthday, it’s definitely a topic that’s on my mind. And on my forehead. And under my eyes. And all over my neck.
As far as Botox goes, I’ve personally never been a fan of injecting toxins into my face.
Ironically, I do inject all kinds of toxic thoughts every time I look in the mirror.
Seriously, I‘m the meanest of the mean girls to my own sweet face. (You should hear the way I snidely snipe every wrinkle, crinkle, bag and sag.)
May 16, 2013
I learned the hard way that life doesn't have to be full of struggle and pain - life's actually meant to be fun, joyful and deeply fulfilling.
For me it took hitting rock-bottom to break open into a profoundly different way of living and brand-new perspective on life.
Just over four years ago was my lowest point. I'd spent my 20s in and out of depression, believing that if I could just find it -- that perfect man, career, number on the scale -- that I would finally be happy.
I spent years in and out of therapy, on and off depression medications, switching jobs constantly, buying new cars, moving to new cities and upgrading my boyfriends, in a hopeless effort to fill that deep void inside.
May 16, 2013
I'm in Washington, D.C. for my daughter Christina's college graduation. Wow, the emotions are swirling! Just last year, our first child, Katherine, graduated from college. And now Christina.
It was a blink of an eye ago that I was playing at the park with Christina, braiding her hair, having tea parties, reading her Goodnight Moon.
I'm so very proud of Christina. She challenged herself and she made it. I'm excited for this new phase of her life. Graduating is a thrilling experience but I know, for all these kids, it's also scary because the list of unknowns goes on and on.
Where do they go? What do they do? Can they get a job? Does it pay? Do they have loans hanging over them? Do they move back home?
But for today, and for the next few days, I hope these graduates stay in the moment and let the questions rest. I'm going to try to do it myself. I'm going to pause during these festivities -- pause in the wonder of Christina and pause in gratitude for this moment.
I want Christina to pause, too, so she can feel this experience and so when her own kids graduate, God willing, she can remember how she felt in this moment and how proud we all were of her.
May 15, 2013
Image credit: AugustPark on Etsy
I’ve sometimes wondered if I’ll spend the rest of my life missing my sons as the little boys they used to be.
Though it’s been years since I reminded anyone to look both ways, the sight of a mom crossing the street hand in hand with a little guy with sleep-tufted hair and rolled up jeans can still fill my eyes with tears.
Arriving at an elementary school to give a talk one morning not long ago, watching parents bending low to kiss their children good-bye, observing the sea of bobbing back-packs, the bright art on the walls, the exuberance of six-year-olds beginning their day, I was so overcome with emotion that I had to slip back out to my car for a few minutes to compose myself.
Still, standing up at the podium in that room full of young mothers, I wasn’t quite sure I could trust my voice.
May 14, 2013
The following is an excerpt from Marie’s new book, The Key is Love: My Mother’s Wisdom, A Daughter’s Gratitude by Marie Osmond with Marcia Wilkie (from the chapter “Listen”)
You’ve probably seen the ongoing parenting discussion on the Internet, at church, at school, and in various groups on the subject of quality time versus quantity time with kids.
What I’ve learned raising my own eight children is that they don’t want quantity or quality time as any adult might define it. Children want ALL of your time.
And by “time” I mean your undivided, uninterrupted attention. They really aren’t counting the minutes that you spend with them in comparison to others. What they are measuring is how much they feel listened to and acknowledged.
May 14, 2013
Like a lot of women of my generation, I was raised to be a wife and mother.
That worked for me until I realized my husband was a jerk and I divorced him, until my father died and left us only gambling debts, until my mother and sister were killed in a plane crash.
So there I was, 40 years old, close to broke, with two children, and no way of making a living.
In 1981, I interviewed for a training program at several brokerage firms. One hired me. The average age of the trainees: 23. I was 41.
May 13, 2013
I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and on March 30th, we mourned the death of Coach Mal Moore.
Most knew him as the University of Alabama Athletics Director who hired current Alabama Coach Nick Saban.
In the late 1950s and early 60s, Moore spent his college career playing at Alabama, and later was Offensive Coordinator for Coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Gene Stallings.
Coach Moore probably had more football national championship rings than anyone in history, a total of ten from over 50 years with the Crimson Tide.
He was universally loved by the Alabama faithful, a kind man who would quietly give football tickets to parents who wanted to take their children to a game, but couldn’t afford it. Why? He remembered growing up with little money in Dozier, AL.