Don’t be a Mixed-up Mom

The other night our family traveled a short ways to my sister-in-law’s house to help her with some yard work in preparation for gardening season.  Well, I had very little help to offer but I enjoyed getting some footage of my kids playing in the dirt.  As I watched my sis-in-law using the giant, heavy tiller, I turned to her daughters and said, “I hope you realize how special your mother is.  I would never be able to do that!” The next morning I was reflecting on the image of Heather in the garden and I said to Aaron, “You know, my talents have given me some pretty fun experiences, but I wish I had talents that were actually useful to other people.”  He, of course, disputed the idea that my talents weren’t useful (bless his heart), but I was still skeptical.  How could dancing or singing benefit my family in any way?

Later that day I found an opportunity to watch Dancing With the Stars while I folded laundry (I’m good at folding laundry!).  As I watched this dance segment I was so happy and I couldn’t keep from smiling but wanting to cry at the same time.  I watched it again and had the same reaction.  It didn’t forever change my life in a huge way, but it was a moment in a generally boring and monotonous mom-day that made my heart jump a little.  Okay, a lot.

Side note:  I’ve really been loving this show lately.  I think one of the biggest reasons is Candace Cameron Bure (DJ of Full House fame).  Her optimism and commitment to her faith and religion in the middle of raising a family and being in the public eye is inspirational.  Despite growing up as a “child star” she has still managed to stay true to who she is and people are actually rooting for her.  She is the perfect example of being in the world but not of it.  She has used her talents to inspire and make people want to be better.  Her children are in the audience cheering her on every week and one week showed her daughter telling her mother how cool it was to watch her mom out there feeling so empowered.

Remember in March I said I’d attended a inspirational conference for women?  Well at this conference one of the musical groups shared some thoughts about the talents they each wished they had.  One wished she was a better cook so she could make wonderful treats for her kids’ friends when they came over.  Another wished she was more organized so she could actually find clothes in her kids’ closets.  The last wished she knew how to garden so her family could be more self-sufficient.  They each admitted that these were not talents they had acquired.  Yet here they were, inspiring and uplifting people in a way that most mothers could never do.  One of them (ironically named Whitney) said, “God made YOU the mother of your children because he wants you to do ‘you things’ with them.”

I remember my mom getting out her old performance scrapbooks to share from her Broadway days and, on a good day, I would mmm-hmm and wow until she put them away.  Now I think my mom is one of the most talented and incredible women on earth who had one of the most rare opportunities any mother could ever have.  God made her specially for me.  She is my inspiration.  She understands the struggle it has been for me to stop dancing because she has BEEN THERE.  No one else understands that.

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I’m still not entirely convinced that my kids are going to be inspired by the fact that I know how to dance or sing.  At least not yet — Recently I turned on an old performance video of mine for educational purposes and Calder threw a hysterical tantrum as he tried to climb up on the TV and turn it off — but maybe one day.

Sometimes I wish I had the talent of sewing, always I wish I had the talent of patience (it is a talent, and if you have it you are lucky), in the winter I wish I had the talent of skiing.  Almost always I wish I had every talent.  I’d be such a better mom if I had ALL the talents.

If you need to be reminded that this is not true, read The Mixed-up Chameleon by Eric Carle.  You can always develop new talents, but you don’t need all the talents to be useful to people.  Only the ones that make you, you.

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Shedding pride while finding worth: A lifelong struggle

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Circa 1989

I was in a jazz dance class, mostly with kids who were quite a bit older than me.  I was pretty proud of myself and it showed through my dynamic recital performance.  My enthusiasm came to an abrupt halt when, after my number, a little boy got up and sang a solo; my memory tells me it was the song Father Figure by George Michael.  I didn’t say anything, and I’m pretty sure I thought I hid my disappointment well, but I remember thinking he’s not very good, why did he get to sing by himself?

Summer 1992

I was attending a performing/fine arts camp in Wilmington, NC while visiting my dad for the summer.  During a lunch break, a small group began to congregate around one girl as she told a story.  I was nearby and overheard her talking about her relation to Christina Applegate.  I’m not sure why this was a big deal to everyone, or how they even knew who this actress was — At the time I only knew her from Married, With Children and Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, both of which I shouldn’t have been watching at my age — But they did care.  A lot.  I felt something well up inside me; a feeling I now recognize as jealousy.

During one camp day we took a field trip to a theater called Thalian Hall.  I was very familiar with this theater because the previous 2 summers I had been in productions of Annie and The Sound of Music there.  I’d explored every nook and cranny of this space as we searched for signs of its supposed haunting.  So as we walked behind our tour guide, listening to stories about when and why this building came into existence, all I wanted to do was run off and go back stage.  “This is boring.  Lets go see my dressing room!  This is my theater!” I wanted to scream.  But nobody knew, or cared, about my experience with this theater.  Why do they care so much about that other girl’s experience? I thought.

7th Grade

Our 7th grade class was assigned to complete an awesome project together.  We were to create an actual restaurant, interview for the job we wanted, and then bring our creation to life in the school cafeteria.  My Language Arts and Social Studies teacher, who also happened to be my drama teacher, announced that included in the list of jobs would be the job of “entertainer”.  I didn’t even need to look at the rest of the list; I knew that’s the job I wanted.  But since he also told us that the entertainers needed to first sign up for a REAL job, I chose hostess.  I thought that’ll be an easy job that I can get out of the way at the beginning before my performance starts.  Auditions were held, cuts were made, and the final cut left 4 of us.  For my final audition I chose a song from The Secret Garden.

The Girl I Mean To Be.

I thought it went really well.  I must have thought wrong.  Mr. Deboer assigned the other 3 girls as entertainment, while I was the only one who didn’t make the cut.  I fulfilled my job as hostess and when it was time for the singing to start you can guess who I thought could have done a better job.

Fall 1996

In the Grand Rapids Ballet company, cast-list-posting time was the most exciting time of the year!  And no matter my track record, I still had high hopes every time I walked into that studio.  We’d had auditions for The Nutcracker recently, and I felt strongly that this was my year.  I’d worked hard and paid my dues and this was going to be my time to shine!

It wasn’t.

But it also wasn’t Molly’s.  Oh, Molly.  She was one of the 3 girls who had been chosen as restaurant entertainment, and had also been cast as the coveted role of Clara in the previous year’s production of Nutcracker.

After we had all had our chance to look over “The List” I found Molly crouched under a ballet barre in tears.  I sat next to her and put my arm around her and told her it was going to be okay.  Her response?  “You don’t understand.  You’re USED to getting bad parts!”  Touche Molly.  And thank you for reminding me why I resented you so much.

Forest Hills Central High School: Senior Year

Since leaving the GRB company a few years earlier, I’d had very few disappointing experiences when it came to dancing and performing.  My departure overlapped with my acceptance to the high school pom squad, and upon hearing from the captain that my audition score had been highest of all participants, I knew I’d made the right choice.  I was finally — FINALLY! — in a place where I was appreciated and recognized for my talents.

My final year of poms I was named captain.  And at our annual pom camp, I was also thrilled to be chosen as an All-Star and given the opportunity to perform in Disney World with a select group of dancers the following winter.

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Before winter came, I decided to audition for our school’s production of “The Music Man”.  The auditions went seamlessly and I found myself again in a group of 4 girls (one of who happened to be Molly) singing the lead character, Marian’s, solo.

Disappointment set in when I found out that although I had made the call-backs, they fell on the same day as the final All-Star rehearsal prior to leaving for Disney World.  I made the tough decisions to back out of the All-Star performance and take my chances with the musical.  After all, auditions had gone so well!

I not only did not get cast as Marian, I was cast as a chorus member with no lines.  Molly was cast as understudy Marian.  I spent a lot of time regretting my decision to back out of the Disney trip.

Summer before college

Despite almost 10 years of difficult with Molly, she and I decided to take a trip to Wisconsin just before graduation.  We were both auditioning to be counselors at the pom camp we’d spent the last few years attending.

I have such wonderful memories of that trip.  The audition was so much fun, we met some great people, I did my very best, and I went home with a lot of confidence and excitement about my new summer job!

A few weeks later I still hadn’t heard back in response to our audition.  One day, I got a call from Molly.  “Did you get your letter?!” She asked excitedly.  “No…,” I knew where this was going, “Did you?”  By this point it was clear that she felt bad for calling.  “Yes…”

The best part was that summer:  While I was attending my younger sister’s pom competition, the same competition I’d competed in for the last 3 years, Molly was performing with the group of counselors as an introduction to the event.

Still in need of approval even in adulthood

I’m embarrassed at my reaction to all of these experiences, and so many others that I didn’t mention.  I really could throw myself off a bridge for allowing myself to waste so much of my life judging my worth based on whether I received more recognition than someone else.  And I wish I could say it stopped when I left home.  But as you can see, that’s not the case…

Last week

A few months ago, I wrote a post that included a story about a “falling out” that I had with a fellow Zumba instructor.  He is currently teaching at the same studio that my daughter takes ballet with, and whose recital we’ve participated in as instructors.  I knew that if I wanted to take part in this year’s spring recital I’d have to take matters into my own hands — he and I haven’t spoken since December.  So I wrote him and asked how he would like to handle this years performance and what days would be best for him to get together.

His overdue response came, in which he briefly told me he had it handled and that he’d already gotten a group together to participate.

I instantly felt rage that I’d forgotten I was capable of.  I didn’t realize how prone to grudge holding I really am.  I’ve always thought I’m pretty great at getting along with people.  But not this person.  As much as I’ve been blaming our broken-relationship on what he did to me, the truth is I just never wanted to see his face again.  And it makes me sad, because I really miss doing this.

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That same wave of jealousy I felt as a 6 year old in a dance recital, that same disappointment I felt when my teachers didn’t think I was good enough, that same humiliation I felt when Molly got chosen over me for parts, jobs, boyfriends (oh, did I not mention that my high school bf cheated on me with her?), the rage I felt recently at being rejected, it still creeps up now.

This is where I segue into something more serious and important that may not be immediately recognizable as relevant…

About 5 billion years ago

My spiritual beliefs tell me that life did not begin at birth.  Before the Earth was created, we lived with God as his spirit children, where he revealed his plan for us to receive a mortal body and live an Earth life away from him, where we would be tried and tested, but also form families and experience joy.  In this way we would have the chance to learn things we couldn’t without a body and hopefully one day choose to return to live in Heaven again.

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At that time, Lucifer (Satan) stepped forward and wanted to be recognized and praised as the one who would make all of God’s children return to live with him after their Earth life.  But at that same time, Jesus Christ, understanding that God’s plan required his children to be able to make their own choices and mistakes, volunteered to atone for the sins of the world, providing the gift of repentance and forgiveness to all of his brothers and sisters.

It was then that Satan, feeling resentful and vindictive, rebelled against his Father’s plan, taking a “third of the hosts of Heaven” with him, and in doing so was denied the opportunity to receive a body.  Determined to deceive the rest of God’s children into rebelling as he did, Satan has subjected us to much temptation, fear, and sorrow.

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I really do hesitate to compare myself to Satan, the father of all lies, the cause of all unhappiness and sin.  But when I get so angry about not achieving success, being the favorite, or being in the forefront of everyone’s mind, I can’t help but see that he is succeeding.  He does have such a strong hold on me.  I’ve been feeling so much hate and resentment towards people lately, and the more hate I feel towards others the less I feel I am worth anything.

I think he knows that the younger he starts tempting people to hate others and hate themselves, the more likely he is to succeed.  Lately, I have heard the phrase “It’s not fair!” out of my 6-year-olds mouth WAY too much.  Satan is no respecter of age.

One day, possibly many many hundreds of thousands of years ago, I made a decision to follow Christ’s plan and not Satan’s.  He’s angry with me for that and trying in every way to get me to change my mind.  I chose eternal joy and family in spite of temporary challenges, over limited progression in a naive and oppressed dictatorship we would have been subject to under Satan’s plan.

“…having made that decision, why should we have to make it again and again after our birth into mortality?”  The late prophet Gordon B. Hinckley asked.  And he continued, “I cannot understand why so many have betrayed in life the decision they once made when the great war occurred in Heaven.” (“The Dawning of a Brighter Day”, Engisn, April 2004)

He goes on to describe the “faint but beautiful light” that shines through the darkness of these perilous times the world has always lived in.  There are so many opportunities in life for us to do good and to be a part of something much bigger than our own journey.  We are told that we have so much more tremendous significance than we could possible comprehend.

But despite our significance in God’s eyes, “…this does not put us in a position of superiority.  Rather it should humble us.  It places upon us an unforgiving responsibility to reach out with concern for all others…We must cast out self-righteousness and rise above petty self-interest”.

Based on my history of pride and resentment, clearly I’m not qualified to preach humility.  Even as I write this post I have to convince myself that I’m not sharing my experiences so people will think I’m an amazing writer.  Or even so that someone might thank me for being the reason they found God.  So I’ll end with the words of another remarkable leader:

“Some suppose that humility is about beating ourselves up. Humility does not mean convincing ourselves that we are worthless, meaningless, or of little value. Nor does it mean denying or withholding the talents God has given us. We don’t discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves. It comes as we go about our work with an attitude of serving God and our fellowman.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2010)

UPDATE (May 25)

When I wrote this post, I honestly had no thought in my mind that someone who actually knew Molly would read it, let alone Molly herself.  I had no intention of dragging her name through the mud and I hold absolutely no ill will towards her today.  She is and was a beautiful person.  Regardless of the jealousy I always had towards her, I still considered her a great friend for many years.  I think sometimes we choose friends based on our admiration of them.

My point of this post was not to prove how terrible other people are, it was to show how in need I was and am of changing.  How in need many of us are!  Pride is a terrible thing.  It is no one’s fault but my own that I carried these grudges and resentment around with me for so long and life would have been so much happier if I could have let them go and seen myself for who I really could be without being compared to others.

As for the writing style, drama always makes for better story telling right?  So while I wrote as if I still hold these feelings as a 31 year old woman, I truly don’t.  It is always easier to see the truth and the purpose behind the experiences in hind sight.  I’m grateful for what I learned about myself through these times, even if I didn’t handle them as I would have liked.

So I want to sincerely apologize to Molly (and John and that little boy who sang a solo and anyone else who I thought was living the dream that I should be living).  They don’t deserve what I have felt for them in the past.  Love you Molly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I suppose an Encore was inevitable

I put a lot of thought into the decision I made when I wrote this post and decided not to hold on to a dream that only had the potential for disappointment.  But I guess some things are just in the stars; you can’t change your fate.  Or maybe its just in my genes.  You can’t change genetics either.

In the two months since proclaiming to no longer be a dancer, I have received more requests to use my dancing skills than I have in the last year while being proactive about teaching.  It’s as if the Universe is begging me to reconsider.

When I think about all of my most life-changing and memorable experiences—with the exception of my husband and children—they all involve dance.  And it’s not even entirely true that my family isn’t included because Aaron proposed to me on the stage that I did all of my college performing on (I’ll save that story for another time), and Jade is in love with ballet, gymnastics, and now musical theater.

I can’t escape my destiny: almost all of the traveling I’ve done, many of my most challenging times, the reason that I’m as healthy as I am despite my MS diagnosis, and the reason I spent 5 years at the school that I did and, ultimately, met Aaron all revolve around dance.  My best friends are dancers.

I have the World’s best friends.

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I know the reason we are so close is because of our shared passion for dance.  It has created a bond that is so strong that most people couldn’t possibly relate.  A bond so strong that for the rest of my life it will be difficult for me to make new friends because I will always compare them to these friends (Thanks for that, girls :P).

12 years of pictures.  How can I possibly choose which ones to share?

There are all the times we toured together…

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All the times we laughed together…

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And cried together…

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And DANCED together…

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You get the picture.  That’s a lot of memories.

I’m sorry to be so fickle, but I need to retract, or at least amend, a statement that I made before.

I do not need a new me.  I love the Me that has been shaped since I met all these amazing people whom I love so much!  We will always be friends.  And even if I’m not dancing right now, or teaching, I am a dancer.  I will always be a dancer.  And I look forward to the day in Heaven when we all (you know who you are) reunite for a big encore performance!  Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  12:30 sharp.

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The Final Curtain Call

I’ve been in a very long relationship.  25 years to be exact.  When it was new, and even 15 years after it began, it was exciting and full of adventures.  It wasn’t without difficulty; no relationship is.  But it defined me, both the good and bad.  I knew it was important.  Life changing.  Lasting.

About 8 years ago things changed.  Suddenly I was putting in much more than I was getting out of it.  I was holding on for dear life as I reflected on the memories, thinking every day that things could be like they used to.  I would spend hours that I didn’t have planning how I was going to make this part of me as important as it was in the beginning.  Not only important for ME, but I needed everyone else to see how important this was.  How RIGHT for each other we were.  I had a distinct, tear-filled moment when I said out loud for the first time that this needed to end.  But of course that wasn’t the end.

Before I get too much further let me clarify that the relationship I’m talking about is my relationship with dance.

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This might seem a very bizarre comparison to almost everyone who may read this.  But to me, my broken relationship with dance is as heartbreaking as any human relationship that has ever ended.

How many of you have experienced finally realizing that a love you’ve been holding on to for so long is just destined for destruction?  How much time did you waste trying to get something back that was clearly over?  I know this is how I felt with my first love (person-to-person love).  I literally held on to this relationship for nearly 6 years and every time I felt it slipping away I would get out the pictures, write an email, make a phone call, anything to remind myself, and him, that the connection we’d had had been real, and possibly could be real again one day.  Even if it meant we were just close friends.

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It might be hard to believe, but I think my relationship with dance runs as deeply and passionately as almost any relationship I have ever had, or will ever have, in my lifetime.  And I’m realizing now, slowly over these last years, that dance and I are no longer “in a relationship”.  I’ve spent 8 years maintaining a friendship that is never going anywhere.  As with other REAL relationships, I’ve told myself that its ok to be “just friends”.  And maybe for some this works out.  I’ve heard people talk even about ex-husbands with whom they have managed to stay friends.  Today I’m thinking that I just need to rip the bandaid off and cut ties for good.  I LOVE it to much to be just friends.  Its too painful for me.

Last week after returning home from a Zumba class (taught by someone other than myself) I received an message from the instructor (who I had a previous agreement with that neither of us would have to pay for each other’s classes) asking if I could start giving him some money for his classes.  Classes that I had been appearing as a “guest instructor” in since my own leave from teaching.  I responded to him that I’d be happy to pay, and that in fact he did not need to have me teach in his class any longer.  This was my dramatic-girl way of being spiteful.  Fine, if you want me to pay, then you don’t get to enjoy the pleasure and professionalism of my teaching (Apparently I wasn’t actually “happy to pay”).  I returned to class yesterday, having forgotten to bring any cash, and spent the whole time rationalizing inside myself why I SHOULDN’T have to pay for this class.  I can dance and teach every bit as good or better!  I should be getting PAID for this, not paying.  I felt sick inside and ended up just leaving early because I couldn’t handle the feeling any longer.

Have you ever tried hanging out with an ex after a breakup while he’s with his new girlfriend?  This felt similar.

I believe my initial reason for not just letting go once I started having children was just in case an opportunity for a career opened up for me once my childbearing years had ended, I’d still be capable of dancing–If you’ve ever been able to do the splits, you know how quickly you lose this ability if you don’t do it every day–I also needed my foot in the door just enough so that when people thought “I need a ballet teacher for my daughter” I would be the first person they’d come to.

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Now here is my dilemma: All I have EVER done, since I was 5 years old, was dance.  Dance classes, performances, teaching, choreographing.  That’s it.  At least its all I’ve ever done that I felt like I couldn’t live without.  I recently made a comment on Facebook stating that I was bored and needed a new hobby, to which I received MANY responses, some with suggestions like “How about knitting?”, but most of which said something sounding like “How can you be BORED?! You have 4 children!”  So I guess I should clarify.

I’m not Bored.  I’m lonely.

I have the post-breakup blues.  I need something to fill the void that was left when I stopped being on stage.  And I assume that, just like an actual breakup, eventually you “meet someone new” and forget why you worked so hard to hold on to the past.  And also like an actual breakup, it takes completely letting go to be able to be on the market again.  Essentially this is why I started this blog in the first place, and named it as such.

The Girl I Mean To Be.

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So who am I now?  Without dance.  I’m on the market for a new me.

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Better Than a Garbage Truck

Three and a half years ago, I had just gotten back from a dance festival.  My love for dance was rekindled (not that it had ever really gone out) and I decided to get back on track pursuing it as a career.  I had a 2 1/2 year old self-sufficient daughter and a supportive husband, so the world was waiting for me.

At that point, I had spent the last 8 months desperately wanting to have another baby.  When it didn’t pan out I decided maybe it wasn’t in the cards for me.  I did have one fantastic child, and now I could have the best of both worlds; I could be a mother AND a professional dancer.  I spent hours daily looking into auditions for all kinds of things, modern dance companies, ballet companies, reality shows (and I did actually attend the So You Think You Can Dance audition).  One day I decided that if I really wanted to pursue dance professionally, I had to really dive back into training.  I hadn’t been taking classes or performing regularly for 4 years.  I enrolled in college as a part-time student at my alma mater, which was an hour drive both ways.  I would drive 3 times a week, drop my daughter off at day care, and be in class for 3 hours.  I was in HEAVEN!  Almost literally, because my body was so banged up and bloody most days I thought I might die.  But I was so happy.  It almost made it worth it that I thought I may not have any more children.

One month after the semester started, I found out I was pregnant.

I was thrilled!  Obviously this is what I’d been wanting for almost a year now, and if I could handle being back in the dance world with one child, surely I could do it with two…

The end of the semester came around and, as I was struggling to make it through a class without vomiting, I scheduled my doctors appointment for my first ultrasound.  I continued to attend class until I couldn’t take it anymore and then I had to drop out.  I’d thought about skipping the appointment I made because I’d already seen one ultrasound the first time around and I assumed it’d be much the same.  But I had a nudging that made me go.  Alone.  While my husband worked.

One healthy heart beat.

Two healthy heart beats.

And then MY healthy heart about stopped.  We were having TWINS!  I cried, and shook, the whole appointment and the whole way home.  I actually did call my husband and told him over the phone because an hour (also the distance from my home to the doc) was way too long to wait.

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Our sweet baby boys were born 6 weeks early, and after a short stay in the NICU we were headed home, now as a family of 5.  Obviously my dance career was put on hold but that was perfectly fine because my children were perfect and I was only  28 years old.  I had plenty of time.

When people would ask me if having twins was WAY harder than having a singleton, I would respond, “No its surprisingly not!  I’m changing a diaper already anyway, I may as well change two :)”.  And it really wasn’t that hard, until they started being mobile.  It was at that point that everyone in my life began telling me, “You’re NOT thinking of having any more children right?  You’re done.”  Usually it came in the form of a statement, not a concerned question.  Usually I would laugh and just say I didn’t know.  “Maybe one day but definitely not in the near future.”  But for some reason my heart was already yearning for another when my not-yet-toddler twins were just a year old, although my desire for a dance career was still just as strong.

Baby #4 came just 11 months later.  This pregnancy was different.  Harder even than my twin pregnancy.  I’m sure no one had this intention, but I felt judged.  While during my first and second pregnancies I felt the need to tell everyone and show it off, this time I wanted to hide and if someone found out I felt I needed to apologize.  I felt like the judgment was coming from people thinking I wasn’t able to care for this many children, that it wasn’t fair to them or to me to keep adding more to an already stressful situation.  I told myself they were probably right and that this was it for us.

IMG_1221Any reservations I had about our decision to have another disappeared very quickly as soon as this sweet little boy was born.  I am in love.  And being in love with him makes me even more in love with my other children.  He is 9 months old now.  He’s making life more challenging with each passing day as he is now crawling, standing, feeding himself, all the things I previously had control over.  It is HARD.  Parenting is so hard (see this post).  But I have to be honest.  I don’t think he’s our last child.

The other day the kids were watching a Little Tykes show on the computer while I was cleaning.  I overheard some dialogue between the toy car and a stuffed bear.  The car had just been thrown into the back of a garbage truck on accident while he was attempting to ask the truck if he could help him with his job.  As the truck sped down the road towards the dump the little car worried that he wouldn’t see his owner again.  The little bear overheard his concerns and said, “You’re someone’s toy?? I think being someone’s toy is the greatest job anyone could ever have.”  The car asked,

“Really? Better than being a bulldozer?”

“Uh huh”

“Better than being a garbage truck?”

“Definitely better than being  a garbage truck.”

“Better than being a fire engine?”

“Lots better.  Fire engines don’t have homes or little boys who love them.  You’re really lucky”

“Hmm.  I guess I am really lucky.”

Somehow this silly show struck me really hard.  Especially when a few days later I was in the same room as the computer and all of a sudden I heard “You’re someones toy?” and the rest of the conversation ensued as I listened a second time.  I asked my husband if he turned it on just for me because he thought I needed to hear it.  He laughed and said no.  He had just woken up the computer to do something else and then left the room.  Apparently the computer had a mind of its own.

I also heard some very profound words today quoting a leader in our church, M. Russell Ballard.  Speaking of the responsibility of parenthood, he said,

“Be the very best and act the very best you can.  God will give you strength beyond your own as you strive daily to fulfill the most sacred mortal responsibility He gives to His children.  Be of good cheer.  God did not place you on earth to fail, and your efforts as parents will not be counted as failure unless you give up.”

Don’t get me wrong, I am SO grateful there are talented artists of all kinds who have chosen this as a career.  It fills my heart with joy to witness these beautifully gifted dancers, musicians, fine artists, etc. sharing their talents with the world.  They make the world a more beautiful place.  I am a dancer and I always will be.

But I am a Mother.  That is the job I have chosen.  I CAN do this, whether I have one more or five more or no more.  It was no accident and as arbitrary as my days may seem, these are the days that are going to help me reach my ultimate goal: Being in Heaven with my family for ever.  And as short as this life is compared to eternity, I think I can manage the decade or so of changing diapers, sleepless nights, picky palates, and rolled eyes.  It means I get to say I love you to someone every day.  I get to HEAR I love you every day.  And little kid hugs are just the best.

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