No One Told Me About My Broadway Show

I anticipated a lot.

The zombie-like state from sleep deprivation. The bodily fluids that would surely get on me from time to time. Pushing the stroller around the block 89 times to keep her happy. Wearing my heart outside my chest from now on. The highest highs and the lowest lows.  What I did not anticipate, however, was the one-woman Broadway show I’d be putting on multiple times a day.  I must have missed that chapter in the baby book?

No one told me that on top of being a mother, nurse, chef, chauffeur, danger analyst, maid, and teacher all day, I would also be cast as the lead in our own Broadway act that performs 7 days a week. Multiple times a day.  Despite all circumstances. For one tiny audience member.  And without pay.

I wasn’t prepared.  My musical background starts and ends with one year of choir in middle school because it was that or two years of band.  When I had soccer and basketball to focus on, ain’t nobody got time for that.  My extensive dance background includes failed talent show dances with my friends in middle school, the typical bump and grind that is now the norm at high school dances (which as a mom now, I despise), and late night dance-offs in college that usually ended in injuries.  I wasn’t prepared, and I wasn’t qualified.  But let me tell you – in this house, we sing and dance with gusto.

It started when Tayler was just a few weeks old.  She’d be sitting in her car seat on the bathroom floor as I attempted to put on a layer of mascara and run a brush through my hair.  With Disney Pandora turned up, I’d change character at the drop of a hat and give Sebastian or Belle a run for their money.  Little Tayler would smile, and she eventually began her first happy coo’s in that bathroom as she watched mom flex her pipes into the head of her hairbrush.

Whatever makes her happy, right?

Since then, we spend much of our day listening to Disney music, humming in unison, and pop ‘n locking to our favorite jams on the radio.  Sometimes I’ve got a tiny side kick that acts as my hype girl, and sometimes its just me pretending to know the lyrics to songs while doing sporadic kicks, claps, and shuffles across the kitchen to keep her entertained as I make lunch on the stove.  She laughs with me, and I often laugh at her.  The girl has moves that can’t be taught.

We share enthusiasm and have a commitment to the moment that is unparalleled.  I previously thought I demonstrated commitment to the moment when I would sing in the shower.  That was nothing, however, compared to what takes over me when the Mulan soundtrack comes on.  If I were secretly videotaped and someone muted the audio to my performance, the video could be shown as inspiration for almost any occasion. I’m certain of it.

For a girl without a musical bone in her body, I’ve come to embrace the shows I put on each day.  Music, silliness, and dancing like no one is watching (and thank goodness they aren’t) is good for our mind, body, and soul.  I am severely overworked and underpaid for this job, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to work on my rendition of “The Bare Necessities”.  Baloo needs work.

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An Open Letter to Tayler on Her First Birthday

My Sweet Little Tay Babe,

I just came downstairs from watching you sleep, and my heart is overflowing with emotion and love.  Your little arms tucked gently under your rising chest.  Your bitty knees bent underneath you so your adorable bottom sticks up slightly in the air.  So peaceful.  So sweet. And undeniably intoxicating.

Today we get to celebrate one whole year of having you in our lives.  365 days of a warmth in my chest that only you could put there. I’ve been thinking about what I was doing about this time one year ago.  Frantically putting the finishing touches on our house after the move, wanting it to feel like a home you would be happy growing up in.  I remember feeling so anxious and excited.  The thought of you arriving and finally getting to see your beautiful face after months of bonding with you while you grew inside me was overwhelming. I remember feeling like I knew I was meant to be your mother long before we even got to peek at you on an ultrasound. You were meant to be mine, and I was most definitely meant to be yours.   

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We’ve spent every single one of the past 365 days together, and I can’t imagine spending my time any other way.  The gratitude I have in my heart for your hard-working father that allowed us to do this consumes me.  How lucky are we to have him? You have softened my heart, brightened my days, deepened the empathy I feel, and enriched my life as I get to see it through your eyes.  You continually remind me of what matters in our life, and keep me humbled with your simplistic perspective – all we really need is love and our family.

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You are my greatest teacher.  

You’ve taught me that I am capable of far more than I often give myself credit for. Watching you do things to purposely make us laugh, reminds me that laughter is always the best medicine.  You’ve taught me that while being productive is important, time each morning with you snuggled on my chest in the corner of our couch will always trump my to-do list. Through playing together each day, you’ve shown me that being silly in its most shameless, uninhibited form is a skill that is severely underrated. Thanks to you, I’ve learned that my previously held theory that I need at least 8 hours of sleep to function was a big, fat sham.  You’ve taught me that simply being together in a tight, warm embrace is often the best bonding two people can experience – no words are needed.  Every day you look at me with the same adoration and admiration in your eyes. Whether I’m all sorts of dressed up or all sorts of dressed down, the way you look at me never changes, which reminds me that my real beauty is tucked in my heart, and I am beautiful.  The pure elation on your face when we put a big box in your playroom, or when we put some buttons in a juice jug to shake reminds me that its not about the “stuff”.  Its about being silly, being affectionate, and being truly present with you while we let our imaginations run wild.  You continue to remind me that life is too short, and too sweet to spend it worrying about things that don’t matter.  The fact that you are already a year old when I vividly remember leaving the hospital with you like it was yesterday makes me quite uneasy – I haven’t found your “pause button” yet. You continue to teach me that while I love to plan, life and kids will always steer me off course and I need to embrace it. Like when you wanted to make your debut a day early and made us rush deliver at a new hospital. Tayler, you’ve taught me that my heart is capable of carrying a love I didn’t know existed (which is saying a lot, because I love your father very much!).  Sometimes when I watch you, I feel like my heart is so full it might just drop right out of my chest.  Maybe that’s the explanation for those last few pounds that won’t go away – yes, it must be my overflowing heart.

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Teaching you about our world and living for someone other than just myself has given me more joy than I imagined possible. I can’t wait to see all of the new adventures our next 365 days together holds. You are my greatest adventure.

I want you to know that I am far from the only one that loves you so deeply and has cherished time spent with your smile.  You have many family and friends that would walk to the ends of this world for you.  Sweet girl, you are so very loved – here on Earth and up in heaven.  

I want you to know it is nothing short of an honor to be your mother.  I am, and always will be your biggest fan and cheerleader.  

I can’t wait to celebrate you today. 

I love you to the moon and back one million times over.  

Always. 

Mom

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