I might have been happier if it had been one of my own family having a dream fulfilled, but I am still very happy that Maddy, 16-year-old daughter of a blogger I’ve been following for a couple of years, has passed the Boston auditions for American Idol and gone on to Hollywood. For almost two years the writer of MommyLife, Barbara Curtis, has impressed me with her family, her spirituality, her political views, her book reviews, and on and on. Barbara’s 8th child had Down’s syndrome and Maddy was her ninth. After Maddy was born the family adopted three more Down’s children. Her website reads:  “Mother of 12 lives to write about it.”

I did not intend to write about Barbara but about Maddy, the American Idol contestant. Just looking at the family constellation you know that there is no way Maddy could be spoiled! Blessed with a lovely voice, Maddy had in recent years some experience in singing competitions and in school productions. She also cantored at her church.

Barbara writes:

I can’t remember if I gave you the background on this, but this was entirely Maddy’s idea. She came home from school one day last June and said she wanted to audition. I said, let’s look up when the auditions are. They were that weekend in Boston and so 24 hours later we were on our way. That may seem ridiculous to some, but it was no more of a stretch than things we’ve done for our other kids. When Matt wanted to be an astronaut, we sent him off to Space Camp. When Josh wanted to play football, Tripp and I were the furthest thing from football fans and yet Tripp immersed himself in the game and we bought our first TV so we could watch it as a family. And so on. I like to think of each child as a gift from God – I mean literally, with ribbons to untie and paper to undo and tissue to unwrap. They are so full of surprises and joy.

 The Boston audition went well. Maddy sang Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen – the contestants just get up there and sing a short snatch of song without accompaniment – and she was not only approved  by the three judges but Simon Cowell delightfully commented that, unlike many in her age bracket, she was “not annoying.”

 Not being a regular follower of American Idol, I am trusting that Barbara will keep us all informed on her website as to when we have to watch the next stage of this exciting adventure.

In the meantime, Maddy, know that there is an 86-year-old Grammy in Connecticut who is pulling and praying for you. May I offer this little prayersong which my friend Patti sings sometimes as a response at mass. You may know it already; if not, I’m sure she’d sing it for you if you call her. It’s a great little prayer for times of testing

Here I am Lord

I’ve come to do your will –

Make of me what pleases you

Here I am, here I am, Lord.

Care for your gift, Maddy,  and use it well. Hallelujah!