The Dance of Parenthood

Most of our friends and family were shocked when Jeffrey and I decided to have a baby, and even more so when they discovered it was Jeffrey’s idea.

With Jeffrey zipping around the world much of the year and me running our busy photo agency, and also partaking in deliciously selfish activities like marathon running, having a baby never felt like a reasonable idea.

But on a cold January evening, in the middle of celebrating my 37th birthday over a romantic dinner in one of our favorite restaurants, Jeffrey took a long sip of wine, smiled at me mischievously then simply asked, “What would you think about starting a family?”

I nearly fell out of my chair.

We’d been together for over thirteen years and this topic had never once entered our conversation. We both knew our unpredictable lifestyle would be challenging for raising a child. When Jeffrey asked though, goosebumps formed on my arms and liquid pearls of happiness rose in my eyes as I staggered under the weight of this tender, life-changing moment.

All I could choke out was, “Yes,” in a half-breath as my hands flew up to my mouth in disbelief. It was a spontaneous reaction for which I had no control, but everything about it felt right. Jeffrey looked dizzy as he reached over the table and kissed me. Then we both burst into laughter and raised a toast to the insanity of this idea.

__________

Well, here we are nearly a decade later, still delighting in the insanity of this idea, and even more so, the person this idea produced.

Sweet Olivia just turned eight years old, and as we celebrated our spunky and sensitive girl whom Jeffrey likes to say, “was born with two scoops of sugar,” we reveled in the notion that life’s most outlandish ideas often become the best. Originating in the heart instead of the mind, these irrational ideas often inspire us to learn a new, and sometimes-difficult dance, which pushes us to a whole new level in life.

As parents, Jeffrey and I have been swirling, dipping, tripping, gliding, sliding, and waltzing from the moment Miss O was born. Our love for our daughter has produced choreography filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows as we’ve experienced every emotion imaginable: love, tenderness, awe, delight, fear, frustration, pain, pride, exuberance and exhaustion. And like most parents, each time we’ve finally mastered one tricky step, we’ve been thrown a new challenge to keep us on our toes on this ever-changing dance floor of parenthood.

Jeffrey and I are nowhere near perfect parents—in fact those kinds of people scare me—but one thing for certain is that in this great big ballroom of life, I have the most steady and dedicated dance partner anybody could ever hope for. And for that, I am grateful.

As we hold onto Olivia’s hands and let her dance on our feet, she is learning to create her own moves—ones that will inform her life when she’s eventually ready to launch out on her own into this big, creative world which is filled with endless adventure.

Who knew this dance of parenthood could ever be so exquisite?

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34 thoughts on “The Dance of Parenthood

  1. Born with two scoops of sugar? Now that’s an expression that shows a father who really loves his daughter. Happy Birthday to your little Olivia — she sounds just precious. I ber her life will always be filled with adventure and happiness, thanks to you and your husband. Beautiful post.

  2. I shall be looking back to this post if and when I (along with my life’s partner) decide to start our family.

    This is a marvelous post; taking into context that I can relate to the “unpredictable lifestyle” that you speak of. 🙂

  3. What a beautiful post, Becky! It really speaks to the dance(s) parents learn along the way in this important dance called, parenthood. With our own kids, my husband and I’ve had to learn many new steps, and like you mentioned, once you learn a new one, there are more to master. I guess that’s the beauty of parenting, the series of steps, no matter how dizzying will eventually form this beautiful routine. And, if not, that’s okay, too. The kids will appreciate all of us for just trying our best as their dance partners. And that’s, a beautiful thing.

    Have a joyous holiday season.

  4. Wow! I didnt know you also had a younger child, mine turned ten in Oct. You said it about parenting and Bry is also my only and was born out of the same kind of “decided spontaneity”.
    And Im not trying to plug my blog here but take a look at my last post about what he had put me through these last 7 christmases with Santa! He made a real Christmas moment for me, he has already given to me more than I could ever imagine, but BIG question-you do SO many pics, where is the pic of her dancing on your feet? Would luv to see that!

    • I loved hearing about your Bry. Thanks for sharing. I’ll hop over to your blog too and take a peek at your post too. And I know, I know–where are the pictures?? Unfortunately we’ll all just have to use our imaginations on this one. It’s hard to dance and take pictures at the same time. Some things in life are better experienced than documented. 🙂

  5. Loved your post, loved your story. Parenthood is an adventure like no other.

    I would suggest, though, although it worked out beautifully in your case, it’s probably not a good idea to “never” have a conversation about whether or not to have a family, until 13 years into a marriage.

    • Thanks, Beverly. I appreciate you taking the time to read my post and leave me such a nice comment. I’m in agreement with you about having a conversation about children early on, but on many levels our relationship was/is a anything but traditional. It works for us, but it definitely might not work for anybody else. 🙂

  6. Yes, parenthood is a dizzying dance, and one that I’m ever-so-grateful did not leave me on the sidelines. You capture the joys and the fears and the second-guessing wonderfully here; in some ways, even more telling is that “I almost fell out of my chair” moment, with its suggestion that what seems to come out of left field often brings a whole new dimension to the game. 😉

    • Dizzy. That is exactly how I feel much of the time being a parent. Dizzy-good, most of the time, with a dash of “holy %#!*”-dizzy other times. Who knew parenting could be such an adventure? As always, thanks for your comment, Deborah. You always add such a wonderful voice to the conversation.

  7. Love the way you describe the “dance of parenthood”. Even with the two left feet that seem to appear out of no where( when I am in desperate need of rhythm and order) I would say my crazy life is a little salsa mixed with an occasional waltz. Parenting. It is a gift, the most challenging job, a blessing, occasional torture and so many other crazy things I never expected…definitely the most complicated dance of my life. It’s also the most unexpected experience of my life. Beautiful, beautiful post.

    Christine
    http://www.thisgirlisgone.blogspot.com

    • Christine, I love your image of your crazy salsa life. We definitely have that going on too! It’s usually a combination of dancing and juggling at the same time. And without a doubt, parenting is THE hardest, most complicated job there is. Perhaps that’s why it’s the most meaningful.

  8. What a lovely image – dance of parenthood. It won’t be long before she’s making up her own steps and leaving you sitting on the sidelines. Jeffrey’s description, “She was born with two scoops of sugar”, is priceless.

    • Ha! She already has some spectacular moves–mostly interpretive dance, which is especially creative (and entertaining). Great stuff. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. As always, thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to read it and leave me a comment. Hope your shoulder is feeling better.

  9. I Love every word of this and every thing you write, we are so lucky that you have this gift and can’t help but tell the truth each and everyday . Don’t ever stop ! LOVE , Tim

  10. Beautifully written, and particularly poignant for me as we begin the process to adopt our first child (since the other method hasn’t worked – and I don’t mean kidnapping). The way your conveyed your response to Jeffrey sitting in the restaurant made me feel like I was there and I was a little embarrassed to be eavesdropping.

  11. Becky, I love this post most of all!!! I believe there is no such thing as a perfect parent but if you are there to love and support them that is what it is all about. Life with children is amazing to say the least. Friends have said to me time and time again wait until they reach their teens it is so difficult and you will be ready for them to leave the nest. Well we do have two teenage daughters and even though sometimes we do not see eye to eye I am no where near the breaking point to have them move out. Enjoy every moment because time flies by fast!

    • Deanne, that is so nice of you to take the time to leave me a comment and let me know how much you liked this post. With two beautiful teenage girls, I’m sure you and Todd have enjoyed mastering this amazing tango of parenthood too! We have a lot to celebrate!

  12. Becky, this one is one of those most beautiful posts, i have ever read in your blog. And For sure this one is going to remain my most favorite post of yours for a long time. Three things i like the most in your writing are Maturity, simplicity and honesty. And this post has all these three elements.
    And for me the biggest question is that how this one could be my most favorite post, considering it does not contain a single photograph clicked by my most fav photographer. Still I hope Jeffrey will not mind this. 🙂

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