The flamingo ate my baby!

The flamingo ate my baby!

My last post was about winging it on stage at The Moth Story Slam in Denver.

I delivered my five-minute “quest” speech with no notes—and survived. But the time went so fast, I’m not entirely sure what I said. The video I ordered will take eight weeks to arrive.

But I do remember the gist. The theme—“Tests”—reminded me of doing tricks for A’s in school.

"I was that girl," I told the audience, starting with what I knew. I described earning degrees in journalism and creative writing, both from fine schools. I said I'd had a fairly traditional (though creative) career, and that (by most standards), I'd been successful. Professionally (if not romantically), I'd pretty much followed my plan.

Until about nine months ago, when the universe kicked me out of the nest.

I left my cozy rut for the real world. Taught myself to camp. Reconnected with my through line. Started my business, Flamingo Strategies, and this blog.

After many decades of toeing the line, I finally saw that there are many ways to skip it or hop it or ignore it altogether.

And that’s where my life—and my Moth story—took a turn. I realized that it wasn’t so much about me. It was about the impact of my quest on my kid.

Now, instead of making a bee line for a top college, he plans to throw a dart at a map and fly. He believes he can be happier selling cars and making craft coffee than by accumulating debt. He wants to write a book!

Like the wild dingo dog that snatched an innocent baby in the Australian outback, I believe the pink Flamingo beast that now guides me, has somehow made off with my son.

Would a court of law convict me of contriving his kidnapping?

If so, I'd happily do my time.

Teenagers aren't supposed to listen to their parents! Yet I think—no, I hope—he hears my late-in-life, bust-loose talk about a houseboat and a teardrop, and working part-time at an airport so we can fly free around the world.

Either way, although there's still a roof over our heads, the nest already is empty.

Of the both of us.

Whether it’s his innate boy bravery, or what Carol Dweck calls a growth mindset—or my unexpected third act—at 17, this kid questions convention long before I did. He is brave and resilient, and he knows he has talents and options. 

"I won’t be here to see how my son's quest ends, but I’m grateful to know it has begun. Thank you."

Did I say all this to the Moth audience? Or am I just figuring it out now? I'm not sure.

I guess I'll have to wait for the video.

Planned obsolescence

Planned obsolescence

The night I was a Moth

The night I was a Moth