I had an interview (smile). I’ve been thinking about it all week. And my daughter, Bean, has been asking me about the details: “Now, who was this woman you had coffee with?”, and she presses her lips together, and shakes her head, and looks at me while she thinks over the information I have just given her. Man, I love it that she is so inquisitive and interested in what I’m doing and why. And that she’s not afraid to tell me what she thinks of it all. Even when she doesn’t care about my project and she wants me to stop doing what I’m doing so I can play a game with her or listen to her sing or read or ask me, What goes up and doesn’t come down? Age. Age goes up and doesn’t come down. That was the answer and she laughed when she told it to me.
Age goes up and never comes down, so if we’re going to do something we better do it, right? I think so.
I’ve given a lot of thought to the moments of 2013, and those prior. At some point in November I was going to sit and write a Christmas letter. It’s been a while since I’ve done that. I decided, however, in November, that I was not doing Christmas letters. I didn’t have the time to write them. We didn’t have the money to send them. For once, I was okay with letting go of Christmas letters. I was okay with choosing to simply not do them so that I may enjoy some more stress-free time with my family and not add another to-do to my list. I let go of Christmas letters and decided I would send Happy 2014 letters (smile). The beauty of this is that I can send a Happy 2014 letter WHENEVER I would like. They don’t have to be done all at the same time, people are not expecting them, and, I can make each one special and deliver it when I am able. It’s a win-win: Christmas letters out, Happy 2014 letters in.
My first two went out today. Guess what? I GOT ONE BACK! This afternoon, from a bus driver. I feel like she should be scolded for producing that so quickly, but it made me AND MY HUSBAND smile (smile). The end reads: Sometimes we forget why we do what we do, and it’s nice to be reminded and appreciated!
Well, I’m still smiling because of what that bus driver wrote in her card, because we took a minute to tell her what she does matters. It’s that sort of smile with a lump in my throat and feelings welling up in my eyes.
This past year and the few previous have had more struggles than I was ready for. I’ve said good-bye to people I love, let go of friends I wanted to hold on to, accepted that some time and energy needed to be put into my health, and have embraced that the things I do and say matter. They really do. There was a time when I wasn’t sure they did.
Did you know that for the longest time I would never say I was a writer? I had poetry, articles and interviews published, but if I were asked, “So, you’re a writer?” I would respond with something like: Oh, I write sometimes. I was so afraid that saying I was a writer meant I needed to be perfect at it. (Lord knows, I’m not perfect at it – smile.) I did the same with picture taking and painting and . . . well, it’s a long list.
Here’s another fun fact: Did you know I’ve wanted to paint a mural since I was 10 years old? I was 33 when I finally convinced myself that it’s only paint and if it doesn’t turn out, I can paint over it. Do you have any idea how exciting it was to paint a mural on my daughter’s wall and see her explode with joy when she came into her room?
Did it turn out exactly how I pictured it in my head? Nope. Was it still pretty cool? Yep. Bean thought it was the most magical thing EVER. Every time I look at it I still think, silently in my head, I AM an artist. And I’m still curious: What else can I do?
I don’t remember the first person who asked me, “Who do you think you are?” but I’ve been asked it a time or two. Or twelve. And for years I have come back to that question over and over: Who do I think I am? Who am I?
This year, 2014, I am excited to know that I AM a writer, a photographer, an artist. I AM a good wife, and a great mother. I AM wildly imperfect. But most of all, I AM worth it; my dreams are worth it. I know because a woman told me on the telephone one day. She said, “Heidi, YOU are worth it.” I try to remind myself of that often. You should too.
So back to the woman and the interview. She was interested in this 34,000 Lives project and why it is important to me. Pretty cool, right? I think so. Thanks to some of my dearest friends, in addition to the 34,000 Lives community page on Facebook, we have given the 34,000 Lives project a more permanent home on this page at HeidiSchauer.com. If you find yourself with a few minutes wanting to read about some of the fabulous people here in Minnesota, or you are looking for a smile or some inspiration, or you want to share something fantastic that you have done or that has happened to you – I hope you’ll pay this page a visit. It’s not perfect, but it is pretty great! 34,000 Lives . . . I’m still workin’ on it. I’m THAT girl (smile).