This is Alexis Grace, a 21-year-old mother to a darling 3-year-old girl. I don't know much about her background but what I do know is that she hails from Tennessee and that she is a stay-at-home mama to her little girl.
This is what she looked like when she first set foot inside the American Idol audition hall in front of Simon, Randy, Paula and Kara. This is what she looked like before her life started moving at warped speed. Before the stylists and the producers and the coordinators and the judges started yapping at her telling her what she needed to do differently to become a "star."
This is what she looked like before she was handed that fateful yellow ticket - the one that would send her away from her daughter. Off to Hollywood.
Chasing the dream.
I'm not sure if I'm alone in this when I say I literally cringed when I watched Alexis come out of the audition room, ticket in hand, and watched as she jumped and screamed with her family. All I could really see was the look on her daughter's face as she was being held by a family member. She wasn't smiling. She wasn't screaming. She wasn't congratulating. She looked shocked. A little scared. A little confused. She's 3. She's 3.
And ever since that moment as I watch the talented Alexis Grace move onward into the narrowed field of American Idol hopefuls, all I can think about is that little girl left behind.
Oh, I know some of you are like whaaaa? Seriously? I know this issue brings up all kinds of feelings in the world of mamas, but for me, at 41 years old, I see life a little differently now than I did when I was 21. And I'm not saying that's always a good thing.
But I've learned a few things along the way and although I don't claim to know much about anything, one thing that I do feel pretty damn certain of is that Alexis Grace's little girl has no interest in having her mama win American Idol. Because I know deep in my soul without a shadow of a doubt that all young kids want their mamas to be one place. And one place only. And that's home. With them.
I know, I know. I hear it every time I watch. These young singers are chasing the dream not only for themselves but for their family. To give their family all that they deserve and need in life. Because fame and wealth and stardom is really what families need right? Right?
Listen, I'm all for having dreams. And even chasing them a bit. And that's what youth is for. Chasing dreams. I've had a few. And I still have them believe it or not. It's what makes me tick. My internal dreams. And I don't plan on dumping them altogether.
But ever since becoming a mama, and it was a tough internal struggle for me to become one, I have finally come to the realization, through and through, to the core of my being, that my dreams are their dreams now. Yep, that's right. Their dreams. I'm here for them. Plain and simple.
And I'm not saying that to be all high and mighty telling every mama that she should feel the same way because we all come to our stuff in our own way and in our own time. But what I am saying is that I could try and pretend that my kids wouldn't be affected if I were off chasing my dreams, but they would be.
And I don't know about you, but I for one don't think fame and fortune are what most families really need. I could go on and on about what I think families need more than fame and fortune but I won't. Suffice it say my list includes things like eating dinner together around a table, dancing together in the living room and playing tickle monster on the sofa.
So I'll continue watching American Idol because the dream formula works for me. I'm addicted really to watching the dream chasers. Chasing dreams is what makes the world go round. But I have to be honest, I won't be all that sad if the talented Alexis Grace gets sent packing at some point. 'Cause back in Tennessee is where the biggest dream of all is hanging out. Waiting for her mama to come home.