This past Sunday was Oscar night. That means for one brief shining moment it was time to forget about the kids bouncing off the walls, time to stop writing, time to drink a glass of wine and kick back. Better yet, it was time to stop worrying about medications, dosages, food allergies and more. Simply, it was time to relax and enjoy the show!
With most of my recent posts coming with an extra layer of gravitas, I think it’s a welcome, if not overdue, respite to offer my two cents about the 83rd annual Oscar telecast, seen coast to coast on the ABC television network.
For starters, I began the night by ignoring the small but disturbing mini-mound of vomit my little guy deposited in a corner of the dining room. Seems he’s not eating much, being on this newest dosage of amphetamine fueled hyper-activate medication, so his stomach is acting a bit jenky. But, ahhh, that’s for another time when we will discuss using children as human guinea pigs in a trial and error odyssey to find meds that work properly: a journey that might ultimately kill me before it offers relief to the little one.
For now, let’s talk about movie stars. I began Oscar night by doing what most women do — collapsing on the couch and oohing over the stars as they paraded down the red carpet in their designer duds and borrowed bling.
As pre-show played before my tired eyes, I noticed something impossible to ignore… something remarkable. For the first time, the Academy Awards seemed to have a subtle undercurrent of a not-often-found “Hollywood” theme. Was it me or was this a newer, kinder, gentler, more in-touch program?
Now I’m not talking about fashion or acting, I’m talking about the greatest four letter word ever — LOVE — and not just the love of screaming fans who lined the red carpet to see their favorites, but the far more real LOVE that one would expect to see between husband and wife, mother and child.
What started as a typical super-celeb gown fest morphed into substance before my disbelieving eyes. First there was the “mominees” package, featuring mothers of Oscar nominees, including James Franco’s mom Betsy, Mark Wahlberg’s mom Alma, Jeremy Renner’s mom Valerie, Matthew Libatique’s (“Black Swan” cinematographer) mom Georgina Libatique-Porter, Mark Ruffalo’s mom Marie Rose, and Darla Anderson’s (“Toy Story 3” producer) mom Annie Latta-Krach.
I nearly cried a few times as I watched with rapt attention as these moms of stars and superstars talked about their children the way I talk about mine. The segment was relatable, heart-felt, surprising in its depth and intimacy, and ultimately it was eminently entertaining.
This segment was followed by a pre-Oscar interview with Nicole Kidman who pointed out that “this is the first time I’ve been nominated while married to Keith, so this is a first for us.” Could you just die?
But the best quote of all came from Warren Beatty (himself an Oscar winner, former mega-movie star and brother of Shirley MacLain) who said of his luminous movie star wife, Annette Bening: “You don’t know the half of it — it’s not only that she is the best actress in the world, you can’t imagine what a mother, and a wife and the whole thing — I’m in awe, so I just try to be acceptable.” Humble and loving. Does it get better than that?
If it wasn’t for my totally-in-love-with-me-boyfriend curled up on the couch next to me I might have fallen in love with another man right on the spot. Thank goodness I know my man feels the same about me or there might have been trouble!
But this moment offered me a highlight for Oscar night… a world-famous couple, who on my TV screen, connected with grace, love, bound with purpose. Wow!
Sure, ardent movie fans and TV watchers will gripe about the banal, boring, horribly hosted (sorry, Anne and James) broadcast, but wasn’t it nice to get a glimpse of the substance behind the sizzle during the 83rd Oscar telecast?
For mega stars and the rest of us plain old regular stars, it doesn’t get much better than having a loving person there by your side, serving as confidant, friend, fan and ultimate cheerleader. We might not be able to share an Oscar with a movie star, but we can relate to feeling the love of another.
This common ground means each one of us, if we’re lucky, can win the ultimate prize by feeling a deeper connection to our kids, partners, parents, spirit — whomever, or whatever it looks like — love always wins.
My other favorite quote of the night: Sandra Bullock, on answering whether motherhood has made her a better actress said, “I don’t know how much it’s changed me as an actor, but it’s made me a better person.”
(Loving credit to my guy, whose edits add the balance to my thoughts, details to my words and forever is the yin to my yang).
BIO: By day Shira Adler is a cantor, spiritual vocalist, certified pastlife regressionist, voice-over artist, producer, performer, writer/blogger and mompreneur and by night… well, she is actually the same person at night though she does admit to wearing fuzzy socks when no one can see her and hiding a secret stash of Mallomars somewhere near her writing desk for those late night pick-me-ups. In, around, and between her various work activities, she is raising two beyond-the-spectrum children as a single mom (though lovingly gives a shout out to her best friend, editor and soulmate whom she considers the bees knees). Is it any wonder her website’s tag line is One Voice Many Paths? Seriously, look up the definition of a multi-tasking Mama and you will find her picture there. But when it comes to living a life of connection, faith and consciousness Shira is the gal to call — or if you’re fresh out of Mallomars — she’s always happy to give you one. For more information visit: ShiraAdler.com, read her blog at Diva-Mama.com; Social: Twitter (1DivaMama), Facebook (DivaMama1), Tumblr (not really sure, but the name is cute) and LinkedIn (because doesn’t everyone?).
Licia Ronzulli, an Italian member of the European Union’s Parliament, sat poised and focused in her parliamentary seat. Her right hand raised in a vote, her left hand turning a page on her desk, and wrapped around her body, a newborn baby asleep in a sling.
I’m a new mom too, and even though I work in a completely supportive environment, becoming a mom made me terrified for my career. For as many women as are now in the workplace, there are still relatively few successful models for new moms who want to keep their careers going. We hear about these supermoms, but they’re not usually represented in our media.
So when I saw this picture, I was moved to tears. It’s not because I think it’s so amazing that a woman could bring a baby to work (although that is pretty great) or because of a sudden hormonal surge that makes me tear up every time I see a baby. My tears are tears of relief —- here, finally, is a picture that shows that a woman can be both professional and maternal at the same time.
Merging these identities -– the professional me who likes the feel of a suit and a challenging debate and the maternal me who will spontaneously burst into song and dance about just about anything –- is hard in a world that persistently devalues the endless work of mothering while hyping up the overwork we do in our careers.
Here, finally, is a real picture of a woman I can admire. I don’t know Ms. Ronzulli’s politics or the intimate details of her own work/life balance. What I do know is that this image makes me feel proud and hopeful. Finally, here is a poised and confident woman who, by simultaneously occupying these dual roles, appears all the more so.
Bio: Katie Bethell is a tech-savvy progressive activist, feminist, mom, and writer in the Seattle area. Katie’s writing has been featured on the Huffington Post, MomsRising.org, and other leading outlets. Her consulting firm, Left Hook Consulting, specializes in bringing campaigns to the cutting edge by applying the wisdom of traditional organizing to the tools of the internet age. Visit www.lefthookconsulting.com.