Lori Hope Baumel
Originally appeared in Around Wellington Magazine on May 1, 2015
Sam in Central Park
My oldest of three: Sam, in Central Park.
iPhone Artistry by LH Baumel
Motherhood has been time-consuming, and I would not trade it for anything in the world. My readers know, that I often refer to my children as my “greatest productions.” I am so proud of the loving, socially conscious adults they have become and can only imagine what the future holds in store for them. They are all aware that I love them unconditionally.
Now that I am in my fifties, my children are beginning to venture off on their own. Yet, I find myself saying, “There is not enough time.” Food shopping, household maintenance, running errands and personal finance management take up a great deal of my waking hours.
As Mother’s Day draws near, I have been reflecting on how I spend my time. As a result, I created a list of “If I Could” wishes. I am fortunate to say that I have experienced a taste of almost everything on the list. Simply put, I will never have the time to implement these wishes in full. But I can dream, can’t I?
If I Could
If I could, I would spend the entire day reading the New York Times, Wired magazine, Vulture.com and more. I’d explore theater reviews to help me sort out all of the shows, plays and concerts I have yet to see.
If I could, I would listen to every NPR podcast that I didn’t get to finish – the ones that completely intrigued me. The public radio term is “driveway moments,” times when you sit in your driveway waiting for the story to conclude. For me, it sometimes occurs when listening to a mesmerizing broadcast while I put on my moisturizer in the morning.
If I could, I would set aside the entire day to talk to friends who have made a difference in my life. The ones who make me laugh, the ones I’ve cried with and the ones who are always there for me. I would call them and thank them for being in my life.
If I could, I would visit (and revisit) every notable museum in the world and view the works of great masters. I’d learn about their creation process and read their biographies. I would immerse myself in trying to understand why they did what they did, and why they had an impact on society. I’d also explore new artists, the geniuses of the future. I’d find out what they’re thinking, what they’re creating and the statement they hope to make.
If I could, I’d spend months watching tutorials on Lynda.com or YouTube to become more proficient with software designed for creativity (i.e. the Adobe Cloud products). I would master skills that would allow me to take advantage of the digital age we are living in. Then, I’d simply create and share. I’d make videos, write music, books, articles, and take thought-provoking photographs. I’d also design a line of jewelry.
If I could, I would listen to every music CD in my extensive collection. There are some I haven’t listened to in years. The music would never stop. Also, I would immerse myself in the best music streaming apps – tuned to my favorite genres. I would be open to styles I have never explored. In my home theater, I would watch a great film each night and read a selection from my booklist each day.
If I could, I would practice the piano (and guitar) until I could perform the works of remarkable composers. I would analyze each piece first in order to truly interpret the way it should be presented. If given the opportunity, I would conduct a skilled orchestra or choir with the type of vigor required to get my musicians excited about their concert program.
If I could, I would mentor every child or young adult that shows promise in an area I am proficient at. I would teach them the lessons that I have learned in their area of interest. I would take them under my wing until they could fly on their own.
If I could, I would spend the entire day exercising – because of the adrenaline rush it gives me. Besides going to the gym, I would play field hockey like I did in junior high and tennis like I did in my 20 – 40s. I would hone my skills and become the most reliable player on my team.
If I could, I would get a good night’s sleep; the type of sleep I used to get when I was tucked in at night as a child, after my mother or grandmother sang me lullabies. I would experience the nocturnal bliss I had before my bladder bore the weight of my three unborn children.
If I could, I would immerse myself in Mother Nature. I would follow my whims and travel to wherever I could enjoy a near-perfect, humidity free, 72 degrees. From a lake in the Berkshires to a Caribbean beach, I’d listen to the whistling wind, watch blue waves as they ripple to the shore or tune in to the chirping of birds as they call for their mates. I’d roll down a hill on a bed of soft grass or kayak on a lake until the sun is fully set.
If I could, I’d spend my days as an activist promoting social justice. Endorse candidates that could move society forward and urge the public to VOTE for them. I would spend every minute of my day writing letters to Congress, get involved in community organizing and encourage the acceptance and understanding of diversity. I’d work to send out the message that it’s okay to respect each other’s beliefs and priorities. I would encourage others to work together to achieve balance regarding healthcare, equal rights, equal pay, green initiatives and promote democratic ideals.
Finally… for my husband, the incredible father of my children, I would wave a magic wand that would miraculously ease the worrying that we as parents and professionals have to endure each day. If I could, I would do everything in my power to keep him smiling.
What would you do… if you could?
iPhone Artistry by LH Baumel
Top Five List For May
No one can do it all, especially mothers…
Perhaps you can contribute to the well being of others.
1) Do things with your kids – other than homework. I know… we have to chauffer them everywhere. But, do your best to try to sit down to dinner with them once or twice a week as a family (I consider a family to be two or more people). Try it for fifteen minutes. Turn off the television and talk about what might interest them. Dry subjects won’t work. Don’t just dive into the world peace conversation. Start with questions like, “What is your school doing to recycle?” Learn from them. Ask them about their favorite band on YouTube. Be open and objective, they may be afraid to tell you because the lyrics to songs they are listening to might shock you. Instead, discuss the musicianship, beat style and ask if they know where their favorite bands come from. Politely ask your children not to text during your short time together. Tell them that you’re silencing your phone as well.
2) Get some sleep! Unplug. Fifteen minutes before closing your eyes, relax the old fashioned way – with a book that unwinds you. Try some poetry or short stories – not horror or the Twilight Series. Then, relax every muscle in your body and GO TO SLEEP! You’ll be much more productive the next day.
3) Think of your children’s future. Register to vote (if you haven’t already). Start researching candidates for the myriad of elections to come. Focus on your priorities and compare them to those of prospective leaders. Then, start a conversation – in your home, place of worship or on the treadmill at the gym. Learn about the gridlock in Congress and see if you can oil it. How can you do that? Read on…
4) If you watch television, go to the movies or use social networking – focus on quality. If you’re scrolling facebook, read an article of public interest. In the facebook settings you can filter subjects you want to follow. Yes, I think cats are cute. But, there’s something wrong with your setup if every other post is a picture of one bathing, playing the kazoo or throwing down a bookshelf. Introspection can guide you to explore postings that include news, sports, politics and charities you have a personal interest in.
If you watch news on television, try different news outlets. Fox news is popular, but extremely biased. It presents the least diverse and most sensationalized point of view. You might feel the same way about MSNB. Don’t allow yourself to be brainwashed – draw your own conclusions. Expose yourself to a news outlet you can learn from. Personally, I tune to public television and get most of my news from National Public Radio. The reporting is not dependent on pleasing their advertisers point of view. It is donor supported and there is rarely any commercial interruption.
5) This one is in three parts:
a) Hug. You know who needs one. You want one yourself. Your kids want it more than anyone, and they want it from you! Yes, even the teenagers. But, you have to initiate it. Hugging stimulates good endorphins.
b) Sing. I don’t care if it’s in the car or in the shower. Sing! Just watch your driving and don’t slip on the soap. If your kids are small, sing them a lullaby to sleep. Don’t worry about the quality of your voice. Your children will remember it as some of the most loving moments spent with you.
c) Write an old-fashioned letter or email a friend. Close relatives that you consider to be your friends count. Express yourself, be yourself, laugh at yourself – yet, be proud of yourself. You’ll sleep better and be more likely to give out hugs (see a and b).
Live… Go… Do!