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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chasing the Dream - An American Idol Rant Reflection

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.


  1. i have to say, i agree. for me, i still have dreams, but they have been modified to include my family. that's non-negotiable for me. if i can't cook up something that will fulfill me and not take me away from my kids and hubs, then i will just take a pass, thank you very much.

  2. that was well said...very well said. it echoes quite a few of the same sentiments i hold dear. while i still carry + plan to pursue my own dreams, what i spend more time doing is helping my children find + chase their dreams. after all, i am a mama first.

  3. my kids would probably say "yahoo, mom's going away for a while and DAD'S IN CHARGE!"

    Ok, they may not be happy I left, but they would be happy that dad is in charge.

  4. I agree with Deb. You make choices- no one doesn't have dreams, but some just have to modified- an argument my husband and I often have! He thinks I DON'T have dreams anymore. He has no concept of having given up every aspect of my individuality for over 10 years. Ok I'm done. Sorry.

  5. I'm all for chasing dreams, but she would kind of be my Idol if she told the producers that she would need her own place to stay where her daughter could be with her. Heck, bring who ever will take care of this little girl with you to Hollywood, but come home to her every night. Why? Because she's a mom and that's her JOB.

    OK - not very lucid rant over.

  6. Can I get a AMEN,praise Jesus and Hallelujah!!!!

    You said it.
    And you said it WELL

    Sounds a lot like my Palin post. Which got me a lot of haters. So beware. Not everyone thinks a mom should be a mom, some think its okay to just do it part time so long as you get every swinging thing you want out of life and absolutely no sacrafices.

    Whoaa...I am ranting. Hey it reminds me of my OCTO-mom post too! Wow. I have issues.

  7. Funny how no one mentions that angle (on TV, I mean)

    I must say I felt the same when I saw that little's got to be hard on both of them.

  8. that was a great post- I hope she stays true to herself.

  9. I get what you are saying here. Sometimes it sucks that as a mom you have to put your dreams, your needs on hold. But then sometimes you just have to chase them. I really hope she does well.

  10. You go girl! I'm with ya oh that too. To that 3 year old, having her mom by her side is HER dream come true.

    Not that it's an excuse for pursuing her American Idol dream, but the mom is 21 years old (giving birth at 18). Now ... we could go on a rant about that one too! 18? Can you imagine?

  11. Very well said.
    Just look at Niki McKibbin from season 1, she was a single mother and now she is on the VH1 celeb rehab show. I just hope Alexis doesnt follow the same path. Our priorities as mothers are our children. and i know this even having children at a young age.

  12.'re really making me think hard about this! I always knew that I would be a SAHM.....this is the path I chose.....because I had a SAHM and I knew how important that was. I want my girls to know that they are capable of being anything....but I also want them to know that being a mother is most powerful and rewarding job....EVER!


  13. Very well written Lee.

    I have strong feelings about this and probably would have gotten too emotional.

    Thanks for putting it out there!

    SAHM's RAWK!!!!

  14. I'm only 23, and I was thinking the exact same thing...I completely agree! As much as I like her, and think her voice is amazing, I hope for the sake of her poor daughter she gets sent packing...she'll have a record deal no matter what! She's that good!

  15. I agree ... it is easy to let go dreams for every day struggles. It is so nice to catch some of the positive energy by those reaching for them.

  16. i think alexis is still pursuing her dream, but for the moment forgetting that at 17 she got pregnant and had a baby, and that her dream of fame and stardom may have to wait.

    someone needs to tell her she CAN'T have it all; that it's a myth.

    still, if she's got good support, hopefully she'll get her 15 minutes of fame and be home in time to tuck her little girl into bed.

  17. Well put! The hardest thing about being a mom is finding a balance.

    I just wish that at 21, Kara could realize that her dreams aren't going to disappear if she waits until that cute 3 year old is 10, or 13, or 21!

  18. I agree with you. I hope this is something Kara doesn't regret later on. Like you said, we all have dreams, but when we have kids, our dreams are focused to accomidate them.


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