Thursday, April 24, 2008

just for the record

my children think i'm wonder woman. i need to record this now because the day may come when they will think that i am anything but wonderful. okay, i guess they did not come out and say directly that they think i'm wonder woman. but they obviously think i possess superhero powers. how do i know this? well, let me list a few of today's conversations regarding the birthday week that is about upon us:

mister: for the obstacle course at the birthday party, there needs to be a tree with long branches that reaches down and picks you up and tickles you.
me: what a great idea, but i don't think we could build that.
mister: we could just have a stick and a fake tree. and behind the tree, one long branch with hook fingers coming out of the stick. and behind the tree, a handle that moves up and down, so you move it down when someone's coming and then move it up to grab them into the air. that's all you would have to build.
me: i'll pass that request along to dad and let you know what he thinks.

sweetie: i want a dora and diego dancing on my cake.
me: sweetie, i can't really do movement on a cake--i can put dora and diego on it (let's hope), but they can't be moving.
sweetie: well, i really think you can make them spin.

mister: i want a darth vadar and a luke skywalker on my cake fighting with their light sabers. darth vadar needs to have a red one and luke needs to have a green one.
me: well, i can't really do movement on a cake [deja vu, anyone?]. i can do a darth vadar and luke (let's hope), but i can't have them fighting.
mister: you can just have them holding their light sabers then. oh, and you should probably put r2d2 and yoda on there too.

um, okay. is that all? you'll have to stay tuned for the end results of these birthday requests. as long as i'm playing wonder woman, maybe i'll go wash up those 5 loads of laundry waiting upstairs and whip up a chocolate dessert to eat while i'm scrapbooking all 10 years worth of pictures in my closet. or, better, yet, maybe i'll write my entire dissertation tonight and just be done with it.

with all of the demands on me, i'm glad the rest of the people in my world have figured out that i am not wonder woman. but i guess it's okay that my kids think i am capable of anything--for a few more years yet, anyway.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

a dream deferred--the common denominator in life

I have been thinking today about Langston Hughes's poem, "A Dream Deferred." I'll quote it here, in case, unlike me, you have not had a bajillion English classes that studied it.

"A Dream Deferred"
Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

I've always liked this poem--the rhyme, the similies, the imagery, the rhetorical questions, the combination of simplicity and deeper meaning. Today I have been thinking of it because I have been struggling with my own dream deferred. I think, as I posted in my title, that this is a common denominator in life among all of us. I think that at some time in life, and possibly more than one time in life, everyone will struggle with having a dream deferred--be that health, wealth, marriage, children, education--the loss of whatever you had imagined would be your "normal" in life. In Hughes's case, most people agree he was talking about race relations and the dreams of African Americans. You could probably add more to my list of possible dreams deferred from your own experiences.

So, I have been thinking of this poem. But I don't like the outcomes he suggests if dreams are deferred--they can be dried up and hard so they're no longer juicy or valuable or have purpose; they can fester and refuse to heal, thereby becoming constant sources of dissatisfaction and reminders of the dream deferred; they can become rotten and ugly; they can harden and separate themselves from others until they are no longer what they were initially; they can weigh you down; or, as a destructive force, they can explode. Obviously, none of these is preferrable to me. I know that what I do with this particular dream deferred can, one day, make me into a better person, as it has before. I also know that some days will be days of festering or weighing down. Hopefully, those will be isolated days.

But I am wondering, readers (the very few out there!), what have you done with your own dreams deferred? What would you add to Langston Hughes's poem?