We each woke up that crisp, sunny morning, quite likely with our first thoughts of our Listen to Your Mother audition that day.
We each carefully chose our clothes, applied our makeup, and mentally ran through our chosen piece time and again.
We drove to the Fort Mason Center to share our words with two women who were truly eager to hear them.
Words of motherhood.
We waited for our turn and we worried.
All of us.
And, one after another, we read.
Each story beautiful in its own unique way, but also much the same.
Words of motherhood.
We all went home and waited.
Many of us spoke with one another about the amazing experience.
We took turns expressing how grateful we were to have had the opportunity to read our words.
We spoke of being honored to attend the LTYM show in May, whether in the audience or as a part of the cast.
And we truly meant it.
I am elated to be one of the lucky ones who were cast for the show.
I am so incredibly honored to be one of those who will stand and read her story.
I will stand and read my words and share my story and I will never forget this feeling of overwhelming joy.
I am so incredibly grateful and excited for this experience and I am sending so much love to those who weren’t cast this time.
I am confident that each of us, those who were cast and those who were not, are grateful for the experience.
For having a welcoming environment in which to share our words.
Words of motherhood.
Where are you going, Mommy?
I’m meeting up with Sherri* and going to the city, Katie.
What are you going you do there?
Well, I’m going to read some of my work to two nice ladies who are putting on a show called Listen to Your Mother.
Because they are giving mommies like me a chance to read their stories today and perhaps again in a few months in front of a big group of people.
Like Disney on Ice?
Well kind of, but not quite, Katie.
But why are you doing it?
Well, for many reasons. I wrote a piece that I want to share with them, I want to try something that will help me to be a better person, and I want to know that I challenged myself.
What did you write about? Is it about me?
I wrote about a time when you were very little, before Matthew came along, when you saved Mommy and Daddy during a sad time. I wrote about how grateful I am for you.
Do you have to go?
No. I suppose I don’t. But in a way, I kind of do. If I don’t try it, I will never know what could have happened. Sometimes the biggest joys come from doing things you didn’t think you could do, Katie.
Mommy, are you scared?
Yes, Katie. Very.
You can do it, Mommy. Just do your best job.
And I did.
With her words in my head, I did.
I entered the small, comfortable room and was greeted my two women whose kind faces told me that my words were in good hands.
I sat and quietly read my words and shared my pain.
And some part of me healed.
I will be there for the show in May, whether it’s on stage or in the audience.
Because there are so many beautiful, sad, funny, and breathtaking stories to be shared.
What a remarkable thing to have been a part of.
And I hope that one day, when Katie is scared to do something, she remembers that day when I tried something that terrified me, and it brings her courage.
*Thank you, Sherri, for the extra push I needed to audition. Without your encouragement and ability to talk me off the ledge, I likely wouldn’t have auditioned. Thank you for helping me to look brave for Katie. You are such a lovely friend.
I recently wrote about the importance of writing from a place of authenticity and the role our audience plays in honest writing.
I have always viewed in these small moments as my place. When I sit down to write, I write about where I am in that moment.
For nearly two years now, I have used this space to express my love for my family, write about my past, and dream of the future.
And those of you who come to read my words have a pretty good idea of the types of posts you’ll find here.
One of the editors at SheKnows contacted me a while ago and asked if I would consider joining their team.
She said she wanted to bring on someone who wrote about parenting “from the heart.”
And in that moment, she handed me a tremendous gift…validation.
She validated the writing that I do here. She reads my blog and knew that I was the person she wanted to bring on.
And that wouldn’t have happened if I had wavered in my writing…if I had written to please others or bent to make my blog like some of the amazing blogs I read.
That’s what I want so badly for those of you who blog. I want you to know that all of the work that you’re putting in is worth it. Whatever you write, do it from your heart. Write for you. And I’ll be right there, cheering you on.
So what will I be doing at SheKnows? I’ll be writing a weekly parenting column called Practicing Gratitude and I’ll be contributing some additional parenting pieces each month in addition to my column.
This new journey leaves me giddy. I barely slept last night in anticipation of my column going live this morning.
I am so grateful to SheKnows for bringing me on board. I keep thinking I’m going to wake up and find out it was a dream.
It would mean the world to me if you’d come by. Today, I’m explaining why it is that I’m such a sap.
But once we added in the 45-minute drive each way, what was a minor inconvenience at first, in time became a torturous way to start the week.
So, after her last performance, I went online to look at the schedule to find a more mommy-friendly time for ballet.
And as I scrolled through the offerings, I casually asked Katie if she’d like to continue with ballet or go back to gymnastics.
Without pause, she replied, gymnastics.
And I was taken aback, honestly, because I’m not even sure why I asked the question.
She had seemed so happy with ballet…a dream that I’ve always had for her.
But, in that moment, I was reminded that ballet was my dream for her. Not her dream for her.
So, we have enrolled her in gymnastics and she is elated.
The benefits to giving young children the power to choose are numerous. Children, particularly preschoolers and early elementary students, become easily frustrated when they feel like they don’t have any decision-making power in they lives. When it comes to the larger issues (i.e. safety, bedtimes, healthy eating habits, etc.), they don’t have a lot of choice. Allowing them to make decisions on smaller issues that affect their everyday lives, such as what outfit to wear to school, empowers them. It shows them that we believe in them, and that they are capable of making decisions that are important to them. Children who are given the opportunity to make decisions tend to exhibit higher self-esteem, more assertive behaviors, increased self-confidence, and fewer negative attention seeking behaviors (i.e. meltdowns when things don’t go their way, tantrums, whining, etc.). These kids feel like they have some control over their lives, which empowers them to make good decisions. It also helps hone their decision-making skills, which will be used throughout their lives. Children who are never given choices feel less self-confident, have difficulty making decisions when they have to, and might question their self-worth.
Reading Katie’s words makes me feel good about our decision to let our Katie make her own choice, especially since she’s so little that most of her choices are low-stakes at this point. I know that I will blink my eyes and she will be a teenager and her choices will be so much bigger.
There’s a huge part of me that hopes she’ll switch back to ballet when this cycle is up, but if she doesn’t, I’ll be right there to encourage her to continue to follow her heart.
This parenting thing? Way trickier than I ever dreamed it would be.