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.

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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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