It's a pretty amazing thing to watch someone live her dream. I had the opportunity to do just that on Friday night.
My university roommate, Mandy, is an amazing person to begin with. We hit it off on Day 1, wiping away tears after saying goodbye to our loved ones and hello to each other. She was a guitarist majoring in math, I was a French major dabbling in singing, and we figured our don put us together because we were the messiest Christians on our floor. One time, a friend walked in and looked around, out of genuine curiosity, asked "How do you live like this?" Mandy and I performed in pretty much every coffee house we could, doing songs like Still Fighting It by Ben Folds, Beautiful One by Jeremy Camp, and a medley of Forever Young/Golden Girls Theme. We got to know each other's families, and have kept in touch over the years, largely due to the other equally awesome friends we made at St. Jerome's.
Once a year, we have a cottage weekend at our friend Meagan's, and this past year, Mandy brought out her guitar and played us a song that she wrote. She also let us know that she had plans to audition for a band. There are a lot of people who say they want to be rock stars when they grow up, but Mandy was serious. And this fall, she joined indie rock band Paint.
The band is composed of several really excellent musicians: Robb is on lead vocals and guitar, Mandy rocks out on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Marcus mans the bass, and Chris kills the drums (Hubby, also a drummer, was duly impressed). We caught their live show downtown on Friday night at a local club, and it was pretty unbelievable. You know when you go see a band for the first time, and maybe you only know one or two songs of theirs, and you're counting down to those songs? This was not remotely like that. They brought incredible energy to the stage, fun banter, and an engaging radio-friendly sound. It kind of makes you wonder that when there is so much out there that's contrived, how a band with such genuine talent can be relatively unknown. Mind you, that's changing pretty quickly: in the few months since their latest incarnation, they won a fan favourite contest from 102.1 The Edge in Toronto, and just wrapped up a two-month tour of Ontario and Quebec.
Watching Mandy onstage was obviously a huge source of pride for me. She's an introvert like me, but at the same time she looked completely natural rocking out onstage with her bandmates, and even engaging the audience between songs (including offering a shout-out to hubby & I up on the balcony). I wondered what Paint had been like without her! Afterwards, we hung out by the merch table and got caught up on each other's lives while I happily sported my newly acquired Paint shirt (which I have worn every day since). I am so thrilled to see her living her dream!
Driving home that night, I felt very blessed indeed to be living my dream as well. I wanted to be a teacher from the age of ten, but I have wanted to be a wife and stay-at-home mom for as long as I can remember. Now, at 26, I have the most supportive, helpful (not to mention good-looking) husband ever, who is working hard to support our family as he moves towards his career goal; I have a beautiful, endearing daughter who is growing and changing every day; I have wonderful friends who love me even though my house is messy and I don't always keep in touch; I have a faithful Lord who loves me even more than my parents and husband do (which is pretty hard to fathom), and provides for all of our needs. In the more difficult moments of life, these are the things I hold onto.