Friday, February 19, 2010

The Curse

I am the victim of a family curse.

For example, I have a beautiful, talented daughter whose calling in life is to sing so loud she can be heard in Canada (we live in Georgia). She’s almost accomplished that goal. She believes that she has this drive because she loves to sing. I know it is a result of The Curse.

When I was nine years old I would stand center stage, on what Mama called a foyer’, with my sold out audience crowded into the auditorium. I couldn’t see the faces of those in the back because of the blinding spotlights.

“More! More!” the audience would scream.

I would helplessly give into their desires by nodding to the orchestra to cue them to begin playing my theme number. Unfortunately my sister put the needle of the record player on the wrong song.

“Not that one!” I cried.

The audience started to get a little restless as they stood to their feet and demanded an encore performance.

The famous intro began: four steady beats, “dum, dum, dum, dum.”

Then with eyes closed I lifted my microphone close to my lips. “So many nights, I sit by my window, waiting for someone…”

The audience was captivated. They LOVED me!

Then what they had been waiting for: “YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE! YOU GIVE ME…”

“Turn it down!” Someone screamed from the audience. I continued. “TO CARRY ON…”

“Turn it DOWN!”

Suddenly the audience vanished. The living room was bare. The microphone became a hairbrush and the bandleader was sucking her thumb.

“Oh well,” I thought. “There’s always tomorrow night.”

I didn’t know it then but I do now. Years ago my mother was whispering under her breath, “May she have a daughter that sings loud enough to make her eardrums bleed.” And I do.

One of my three sons doesn’t seem to know how to walk through the house, at least not on two feet. He must gallop on all fours and then flip with all his might with a loud THUMP ( a THUMP in a double-wide is never a good thing.) Once again I am reminded of The Curse.

I started taking gymnastic classes when I was about eight. I wasn’t half bad and certainly no one tried as hard or practiced as often. During the summer Olympics, Nadia Comanici became my hero.

Our home was blessed to have a beautiful arena where thousands could gather around and watch the floor exercises. I won so many gold medals that the judges offered to not even make me compete; just take the medal and go, but I refused.

“Competition is in my blood.”

They seemed to understand I nodded to the orchestra leader who began playing “Nadia’s Theme” only it had recently been changed to “Leanne’s Theme” after Nadia was forced to return to Romania with the silver medal.

I leapt! I flipped! I kicked the table!

“That’s not enough!” The audience wanted more. I did cartwheels, The chandelier danced overhead with excitement.

“I said, ‘That’s ENOUGH!”

I landed in a quick sitting position. I somehow believed that if she caught me sitting in the floor she might think it had been thundering.

“May she have a sturdy roof over her head and a child who makes her wonder if it’s sturdy enough.” And I do.

I am sure that my mother didn’t mean to cause me any great harm in the long run. When my youngest was four years old he would often creep into my room in the dead of night and wake me to tell me he went to the bathroom and just wanted to say “goodnight.” This would always occur when I was in a comatose sleep and had no earthly idea who this kid was, much less why he was shaking me. I did the same thing for about six years to my Mom.

“Mom, I am SO sorry. Please release me from the curse.”

“Why honey, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

I must give my mother some credit. Along with “The Curse” came many blessings. She passed on a strong faith in God, a belief in discipline . I’m reminded of God’s promise to the children of Israel when He said, “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Ex. 20: 5-6 NIV) How thankful I am for a godly heritage that is being passed down and is already evident in the next generation.

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