nurturing thursdays: their problem…not yours

A mother’s comment led me to repostBelieve at http://hugmamma.com/2014/09/24/believe-2/, something I’d written a few years ago. Having read the original post only a couple of days ago, she left these words…

“Thank you for your beautiful poem! I just sent it in a card (with you credited of course) to a homesick son away at boot camp.”

I could only think how inspiring this mother is to take her son’s preparation for the difficult road ahead…with such grace. I thought “I should thank her,” and I did.

At the time I wrote Believe, I was experiencing self-doubt.

I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, diving into situations with a typically hugmamma attitude. Not quite Pollyana, since I do have a cynical side…partly because I was raised by a single-parent…and partly, because I was a New Yorker for 10 years.

Without going into details, I was totally blind-sided to discover that my good intentions of many years were probably not received as they were offered…unconditionally and without reservation. Instead, criticism withheld for who knows how long seeped in. Like molten lava…hot to the touch…becoming solid rock over time.

After much soul-searching and loving support from my own family, I moved on finding renewed faith in myself. I awoke early one morning and wrote Believe.

Compassion for others begins with compassion for myself.

As I reflect once more upon what I’d written, I’m reminded of what I told my daughter when she was too young to understand why others could be so unkind.

When others said or did something hurtful to my child, I told her she wasn’t responsible for what they said or did. Their words and deeds were coming from within themselves. The problem was theirs, not my daughter’s.

We are not the focal point of others’ lives. We should not think we are. Once we accept this fact, we can be free of the chaos we create for ourselves. We needn’t be bound by the ill-placed actions of those with an axe to grind.

Everyone lives their own lives the best they can. No one is exempt from life’s dark side. While I try very hard not to pass judgment on others…only God can do that…I prefer to thrive in the company of those who are generous in thought and deed. They keep me grounded in who I am and want to be…

…a person of compassion.

………hugmamma.

ENJOY other inspirational pieces at http://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/nurturing-thurs-that-one-person/

believe…

On 12/3/11, I wrote and posted the following poem to hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul. Since then I have been reminded of it by inspirational fellow blogger, Pocket Perspectives, who has very kindly reblogged my poem…twice! Very humbling indeed. You can enjoy her motivational words at
http://pocketperspectives.com/

I was just reminded of what I’d written yet again by K. Jackson.  A couple of nights ago she left the following comment after reading what I’d written almost 3 years ago.

“Thank you for your beautiful poem! I just sent it in a card (with you credited of course) to a homesick son away at boot camp.”

I wish I could offer comfort to this mom whose son is committing himself to our safety, far from those he loves and who love him. Her comment, an expression of a mother’s desire to hold her child close, inspired me to revisit…

Believe…

…in yourself
…in your worth…to others…and to you
…in your goodness…and in your desire to do good
…in your possibilities…and that all things are possible
…in your ability…especially in overcoming negativity
…in your strengths…don’t dwell on your weaknesses (we all have a few)
…in those who love you
…in tomorrow, the dawn of a new day
…in your gut instinct…it knows you best
…in compassion…for others…as well as yourself
…that you are your own best friend…always root for youself
…that you deserve to be alive…and that you DO make a difference
…that you can do whatever it is you want…and that you will succeed
…that it is you who sets your own agenda…not others

…and always believe…that happiness is there for the taking…in all the small moments…every day of your life…

………hugmamma. 

Maui-Wai’anapanapa State Park

hugmamma:

The memories of my childhood came flooding back as I read this post and saw these photos. Thought I’d share these which depict my beautiful, island home of long ago…
………hugmamma.

Originally posted on Pictures & Plane Tickets:

One of my favorite beaches on Maui is located on the Northeastern side of Maui in a remote tropical jungle. The sand is black, the surf is fierce, and lush green foliage covers the area.

My husband and I drove the Road to Hana in excitement of visiting this exotic black sand beach and were looking forward to exploring the surrounding area.

After a few hours in the car we arrived at Wai’anapanapa State Park and found ourselves in the middle of a tropical downpour. Of course, if you are traveling to Hawaii you should know the one rule about these islands: If it’s raining, wait a few minutes and it will probably stop. We took cover and waited out the storm, which ended only a few minutes after it began.

With our beach towels in hand, we quickly made our way down to the beach. The beach itself is…

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doctoring…the old, fashioned way…with new possibilities

I’ve written previously that I often seek out alternative health practitioners to help resolve whatever physical issues I might be experiencing. While I do so wholeheartedly it is still not without hesitation at the thought of leaving behind the more familiar world of medical doctors. Those wizened, old men in white garb with stethoscopes dangling about their necks.

My husband and I thought the world of the last 2 doctors we saw with some regularity. They were both General Practitioners, not specialists. Drs. Kinnish and Purden had what many in the medical practice lack these days…a warm, bedside manner. We never felt rushed for time during appointments. We felt as though we had their undivided attention. We could ask questions and not feel dumb. We could even laugh at something funny.

While neither physician had all the answers, I felt as though they were in the trenches right alongside me trying to figure things out as best they could.

Dr. Kinnish retired at 67. Dr. Purden returned home to Canada to work as a hospital Medical Director and teach medicine to wannabe doctors. Both losses left me a little sad because of the compassionate human beings that they were, as well as my being left to seek out a new family doctor.

Even while I was seeing Dr. Purden, I began seeing a naturopath for digestive problems. With a thorough food allergy testing, she got me up and running better than I had been for a long time. Had I continued seeing her, I’m sure she could have helped me resolve other issues as well. Unfortunately, many naturopaths don’t accept insurance which makes filing claims a little tricky. Paying for services up front gets pricey, and dealing directly with insurance carriers can be a headache. Trust me! I use to work for one.

Well, lo and behold. I found a naturopath, Dr. Brooke, who files insurance claims on my behalf and accepts whatever is allowed. I just remit the copay. Hallelujah! And, as with most naturopaths, she’ll spend an hour with me if that’s what I require. I can ask all the questions I want. We can actually have a conversation about all the ailments I’m experiencing. There’s not the usual limitation as there can be with medical doctors…one symptom per appointment, please!

My latest venture with Dr. Brooke, and her colleague Dr. Kerns, is hormone replacement therapy.

Most women seek help when they go through “the change of life,” as my mother use to say. In other words, the dreaded…menopause. Contending with hot flashes and night sweats are debilitating, from what I’ve heard. I was one of the lucky few who didn’t experience these dastardly symptoms. My main problem was insomnia. I don’t think it helped that I was a night owl, inclined to stay up way past the bewitching hour. As I got older, vaginal dryness was also something with which I had to contend.

There are medical resolutions to the menopausal dilemma, such as Premarin. The fact that its literature specifically states there might be a small chance of contracting cancer put me off. And then when I learned it was derived from, of all things, horse’s urine, I was really turned off.

As I started to feel better with the thyroid supplement Dr. Brooke prescribed, and my fibromyalgia symptoms subsided, I began discussing the possibility of doing hormone replacement therapy, specifically The Wiley Protocol. Up to that point it had helped relieve my dryness symptoms.

Following several discussions I decided to take the plunge, beginning treatment a few months ago. No expert yet, I’m still trying to acclimate myself to the nuances of HRT. I don’t prescribe it for others, unless they’ve done their own research. The decision to alter the course of one’s life is individual. There are pluses and minuses to everything.

What I can speak to is my own experience.

Mine has been a hectic 2014 thus far…having a young adult back in the fold as she decided the next step in her career…a bath remodel that had its hiccups throughout…a dear pet whose life has disintegrated with chronic sciatica…a couple of roundtrip flights which hyper-activates my fibromyalgia…and moving my dancer daughter 3,000 miles away for the second time in a year.

Amazingly enough, with a few late mornings of sleeping in after recently returning from helping my daughter with her move, I have been…good to go. No. I’ve been…great to go! A call from my chiropractor’s office asking if I needed an appointment met with a resounding…”No! I’m fine. Thank you for calling though.”

While I may look the same on the outside…a bulging midriff…chipmunk cheeks…sagging chest…I feel more youthful on the inside. And with that, I can keep on…keeping on.

Baby Boomers are expected to live longer, thanks to technology advancing at the speed of light. However longer lives don’t mean better lives. Our internal clocks have not been altered. We’re still genetically tied to our ancestors whose lives were shorter by decades.

There’s no fountain of youth. Only possibilities which might help give us quality of life for as long as we live.

…and that…I can live with.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

heaven is for real…

a true-to-life story of a 3-year-old boy’s visit to Heaven while on the operating table for a ruptured appendix.

Before watching the DVD, Heaven Is For Real, this evening, neither my husband nor I had heard about the book or, for that matter, the incident upon which it was based.

According to Colton Burpo, while out-of-body he saw…the surgeon performing the operation…his dad praying in the hospital chapel…and his mom phoning a church member requesting that she call others to pray for her son whose death seemed imminent.

Colton went on to say he saw the church where his dad was the minister. Opening its door, the youngster entered and sat in a pew towards the front. Instead of an altar he saw the blue sky with clouds that were transformed into translucent angels. They began to sing as a choir. Walking down the aisle towards the boy was a man, clothed in a white robe. He spoke, asking Colton to join him.

The three-year-old explained that the man’s name was Jesus and that he had “markers” on his hands and his feet. Evidently, marks left from the nails which had hung him to the cross.

In Heaven, Colton saw a horse that belonged to Jesus. The youngster also met relatives born before his time…”Pop,” his dad’s grandpa…and an unborn sister who hugged the brother she never knew.

Describing Heaven as a “beautiful place,” Colton never faltered in his belief that he had been there.

A story of faith simply told. It moved me more than many a sermon I’ve listened to on a Sunday morning sitting in church. 

Struggling to reconcile his son’s story with his own adult rationale, Colton’s dad was finally able to find resolution.

When reciting the prayer The Our Father, we recite, in part,on earth as it is in heaven.

In speaking to his parishioners, Colton’s father explained that Heaven is apparent in our daily lives… in a parent’s love for his child…in a neighbor’s going to the aid of a neighbor…in the lifesaving skills of a doctor. The minister goes on to ask why it is  we overlook these acts as evidence of Heaven’s existence. What he said gave me pause.

Why do we as a society dwell ad nauseam upon our transgressions against one another, while giving only a passing nod to the commission of good deeds?

I believe Colton Burpo. I may never share his experience, but that in no way invalidates his. I happen to feel he hit the Powerball Lottery to end all Powerball Lotteries. I feel blest just knowing that…

…someone saw heaven!

………hugmamma.

Click on the following to view Colton Burpo’s story.
http://cbn.com/tv/embedplayer.aspx?bcid=1398887148001

 

my summer vacation…

Remember that elementary school assignment?

I’m sure we’ve all written at length about our summer vacations once back in the classroom after Labor Day.

As youngsters our summer essays focused upon…us. Where we went and with whom. What fun things we did. Who our playmates were. What new purchases we made. And so on.

Young adults with money in their pockets would more than likely write with the same focus. Where they went for spring break. Florida or Mexico? How many shots of tequila did they down at one sitting? With whom did they spend the night?

Successful professionals continue the trend, promising themselves to go bigger…or go home.

It’s when we start footing the bills for those summer vacations that the focus is off our wants. The constant cha-ching of the cash register has a sobering effect. We find ourselves settling for Residence Inns with their all-you-can-eat buffet breakfasts. Sharing a crowded beach or an overflowing pool is just fine. We make do with cheap souvenirs that eventually get tossed to the back of a drawer.

Having experienced most of these stages…spring breaks were never on my radar…I must admit to liking my most recent summer vacation best of all.

What I did during this my 65th summer vacation

Wanting to spend as much of my vacation outdoors as possible, I convinced family members to gather at a beach near where my husband, daughter, and I were staying. Because we live away from the rest of my husband’s siblings and their families, they very generously acquiesced to my wish.

The Sunday we arrived, eight of my husband’s brothers and sisters as well as nieces, nephews and their children gathered for a huge family potluck. The adults sat around talking as the children frolicked in the ocean nearby. The older ones looking after the youngest. Laughter hung in the air as soft island breezes deflected the heat from the afternoon sun.

As has always been the tradition, the women set about arranging the bountiful assortment of food…salads, meats, breads, fruits, desserts, and beverages. No one went hungry. Just the opposite. Bellies bulged and pant waists had somehow shrunk a few inches.

Lanterns lit the darkness as conversations dwindled. Appetites had been satisfied. Youthful energies expended.

After bidding ALOHA, everyone took their leave making plans to meet again. Same time. Same place.

And so it was that we sat about on two other occasions, enjoying each other’s company long after the sun set.

For the price of a few hearty meals, my life is richer for the memories of this…

…one of my best summer vacations…ever.

………hugmamma.IMG_4517

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: filed under entertaining angels

hugmamma:

Gosh! I’m sure someone is already thinking of me this way…”that chatty, old woman.” Let’s hope I complete the picture…”she made me feel good about myself.”
………hugmamma.

Originally posted on another cup of coffee:

angel

This lovely lady represents so much that’s good about humanity: unconditional love, joy, compassion.

I ran into to her at the post office. Well. Let me rephrase that; she annoyed her way into my heart while I was standing impatiently in line at the post office.

She kept engaging the postal clerk in a prolonged conversation, asking after everybody in the clerk’s family, her co-workers, and some other mundane and totally-uninteresting-to-me details. In short, she was holding me up. I didn’t even have anywhere to be at the time, but I can say that my day had been fairly ruined with some bad news, and that wasn’t helping my mood.

By the time my turn came up and I was finished and on the way out, she was still moving at her elderly pace to get to the door. I gave in to the moment. I just wasn’t going to…

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friday fictioneers: small…and alone

©Tales_From_the_Motherland

If I think small, petty thoughts…it’s reflected in my stature.

If I hold tight to my pocketbook…it’s reflected in my stature.

If I offer no kind words…it’s reflected in my stature.

If I show no compassion…it’s reflected in my stature.

If I take my problems out on others…it’s reflected in my stature.

If I genuflect to my own image…it’s reflected in my stature.

If my life begins and ends with me…it’s reflected in my stature.

If I am God…it’s reflected in my stature.

I am an island…unto myself.

It’s reflected in my stature.
Enjoy other 100 word flash fictional stories at…

http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/

 

gladiators…then…and now

Physical abuse among professional football players continues to occupy many in the media. While I don’t condone the behavior being reported, I also don’t condone CNN and others using such tragedy to drive their ratings numbers. Rather than droning on and on about the salacious details, why not report more substantively about the story…behind the story.

Who are these men recruited for their prowess on the playing field? Where do they come from? How were they raised?

I would imagine many of them, especially the black athletes, hail from inner cities where crime is rampant. They were probably parented by a single mother, or a grandmother. If the family did include a father, it’s more than likely he wasn’t a positive role model. Of course there are exceptions to this scenario. Unfortunately, they are just that…exceptions.

Whether these disadvantaged, young men naturally excel at sports or make it their life’s goal to get hired as professional athletes, their lives have not prepared them to make the leap from impoverished backgrounds to wealth beyond their wildest imaginings.

Unless their personal background issues are resolved satisfactorily, the behavior of these men off the playing field cannot help but be at odds with society.

Money, lots of money, doesn’t buy morals. These are learned over all of one’s life, not in the blink of an eye.

Whom do we blame? There’s more than enough to go around. The player for his own actions. The owners, managers, and coaches for not holding their players to acceptable behavior on and off the field. Sponsors who pay exorbitant amounts of money for the persona, without knowing the full measure of the person. The fans who elevate the players to demi-gods who can do nothing wrong, as long as they bring home the Super Bowl Trophy.

Professional sports players bear the burden of fame and celebrity. Like it or not, they are also icons for millions of youngsters who yearn to follow in the footsteps of these men.

In the days of ancient Rome, no one asked about the gladiator’s personal history before sending him into the arena. Who cared? As long as he provided great entertainment while battling his foe.

…are we so different?

………hugmamma.

 

organizer par excellence…

That’s me!

Give me a dwelling, any dwelling, and I can turn it into a cozy home. Ask my husband and daughter. They’ll swear I’m a miracle worker when it comes to making the most of any amount of square footage.

Over the course of my marriage I have decorated, even redecorated, three apartments, one townhouse, one condo, and three houses. While I’m not a professional, hands-on experience has made me proficient at assembling my family’s living spaces in the long, blink of an eyelash.

Practice makes perfect. It really does.

My daughter’s current apartment is a great, open concept space. There’s even a small foyer leading into the living area. Happily, the wall between it and the kitchen was taken down before she moved in. If not for that, the cramped kitchen would have been claustrophobic, not to mention hot when the stove was in use.

As with most older buildings, the one-bedroom, one-bath apartment is lacking in kitchen storage space.

Above the stove, sink, and refrigerator are squat, boxy cupboards. The type usually reserved for the odd appliance…the rice cooker, the blender, the crockpot. Other than those, there are only 3 other cupboards to store food and dishes. Only one of these is of normal size. Another is narrow. The third while wider is awkwardly situated in a corner. Not much room towards the back for anything.

Having a dishwasher is amazing, although there’s a price to pay for that luxury. There’s only one drawer for cutlery…and nothing else.

While we awaited the arrival of the mover with my daughter’s furnishings, I spent a couple of sleepless nights imagining and re-imagining the use of the space in her apartment. It didn’t take long for me to concoct a brilliant floor plan. Forgive the braggadocio but there are few things for which I’ll take a bow. Decorating, of which I am passionate, is one of them.

Using my daughter’s large, black, glass front cupboard as a dividing wall off the foyer, and a 3 panel, bamboo, room divider facing the living room, we configured a pantry to store not only foodstuffs and miscellaneous kitchenware, but also items we couldn’t find room for elsewhere. With two collapsible shelving units purchased from The Container Store, we were in business.

Resolving the storage problem helped make the apartment more functional. When funds are limited and location is important, there’s always a way to make lemonade out of lemons.

Except for the house we currently own, none of our dwellings have been spacious. In every other home I have had to configure how best to accommodate all our family’s needs. Fortunately I’ve always been up to the challenge.

Watching young couples in the home-buying process on HGTV often drives me crazy. That they require everything from granite countertops to walk-in closets to hardwood floors is beyond my comprehension. Americans are most definitely guilty of getting everything they want…now! Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned ingenuity?

There are limited advantages to growing up poor, such as learning to make do. While no one opts for that, it’s a reality for lots of folks…

…including dancers.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

there’s no quitting this job…

…full-time parent.

For those of you on the verge of diving into parenthood, be prepared to go the long haul. Once that little bundle of joy enters your life, there’s no chance for a do-over.

If all the stars in the universe are aligned in your favor then I say…go for it! However if you’re not in a secure frame of mind where you think you can do this job, then I’d say wait until you are. Another year or two can make a dramatic difference in how well you perform this lifelong task.

No joke! As a parent, you’re employment is guaranteed for life. There’s no retirement when you’re 65. There’s no “golden parachute” of benefits and monetary compensation for decades of stellar performance.

When I signed on as a parent, I was 36. In 1986, I was probably teetering on the brink of acceptance as an older mom. No one wagged a finger in my face as if to say “Well! It’s about time!” Although my younger sisters-in-law had broods of little ones long before me.

Married for 16 years, my husband and I had come to accept that we might never conceive. While I never discussed the possibility of adoption with him, it had entered my mind. I wasn’t prepared to jump through hoops to get pregnant. I would have been stressed, and my unborn child would have felt the impact of my being on an emotional roller coaster.

Jubilant when we got the news that I was finally “with child,” my mood eventually disintegrated into worry over my sanity at being home alone with a newborn. After all, I’d been on a career track for most of my adult life. I’d even contemplated entering law school since I enjoyed my job as a paralegal for a major airline in New York City.

Women are in a unique position when we find ourselves pregnant. We must decide the rest of OUR lives when a child enters the picture. We must incorporate a totally dependent creature into whatever it is we’ve been doing until that point.

It’s like trying to fit 500 extra pieces into a thousand-piece puzzle!

Somehow we manage to stretch ourselves to include more time, more energy, more mental capacity for juggling, more emotional stamina, more backbone for confrontation.

All this while bulking up our softer, gentler side.

We must strive for more patience, become skilled listeners, refrain from nagging, dispense appropriate portions of praise and criticism, appease the disgruntled, soothe the weary, uplift the downtrodden, heal the wounded.

Our call now and then to be the “hostess-with-the mostest” is super-sized to that of Social Coordinator-In-Charge-Of-Everything. Overnight we morph into taxi-drivers, sleep-over monitors, committee chairmen, teaching assistants, Brownie leaders, cheerleaders, snack-time volunteers, costume designers, seamstresses, referees, nurses. The list goes on.

If desired, you could be on-call 24 hours a day. Just don’t expect to be paid like a doctor.

Why in the heck, then, would any, fun-loving, devil-may-care, free-wheeling couple want to tie themselves down with kids?

Because the rewards are as overwhelming as the myriad of duties that go along with being a parent. That’s why!

Yes, there are the acclaims and congratulations when my daughter achieves what might seem impossible to others. And there are the compliments of a job well done from friends and strangers alike. However nothing compares with the love and admiration of the child you’ve nurtured from womb to adulthood.

When my daughter says “I love you,” there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s heartfelt. When we laugh until our sides ache and tears stream down our cheeks, we are bff’s…best friends forever. In that moment, the reward of being a mom is the greatest.

Who knew I would give birth to my very own best girlfriend?

The journey’s not easy. It’s laden with pitfalls, like broken hearts and car accidents. Worrying becomes second-nature. Sacrificing goes without saying. Relaxing is a thing of the past. Considered last is normal.

One day though our children become adults, and they turn to us for help in navigating the challenges of everyday life. It’s then that our validation as parents is complete, even though…

…our job isn’t.

………hugmamma.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/editing-challenge/

 

 

 

 

 

 

spanking…the case against

Pro football players are lightning rods these days for the physical abuse they are allegedly inflicting upon others. The latest case in the media spotlight is that of Adrian Peterson who spanked his 4 year-old son with a switch…”a slender, flexible shoot, rod, or twig.”

There’s much to be said about generational, as well as cultural, differences when it comes to discipline.

Spanking was the norm when I was a child growing up in the 50s and 60s. For my mom, it was probably all she knew to do as a native islander whose culture was founded upon force and brutality. That she was a young widow with children to raise could not have helped.

The same could be said for others who grew up…the way they grew up. Among them, Adrian Peterson.

I can’t judge my mom, Peterson, or anyone else.

What I can share are the scars left behind after the bruises have healed. Among them, a sense of disapproval that never diminishes.

How does a child who lacks the experience gained over time, ever explain why it is she was beaten by the one person whose love signifies the entire world? From that child’s perspective, she is to blame, she is unlovable, she is less than perfect.

Going through life as that individual is like piecing together a patchwork quilt. Gathering together bits and pieces of self esteem becomes a goal in itself. One which overshadows every other. One which dictates every relationship. One which begins and ends one’s life.

The seemingly simple act of spanking a child can evolve into an airing of parental grievances, if not reigned in quickly. Watching my mom beat a sibling once, I feared for his life. It was as though she was giving him the full measure of all that had gone wrong with her own life. Her subsequent tears and apologies did nothing to deflect the violent image which has remained with me forever.

I swore never to spank my own child knowing what I did…

…that it could become more about me than her…

………hugmamma.

 

dance…like nobody’s watching…

Ever since my daughter first stepped onto a stage at age 8, she had a presence that drew one’s eyes to her. Complete strangers, including a dad, told me they singled my daughter out as the one they watched throughout the recital. Of course, I wholeheartedly agreed that she was indeed the star of the show, even though she wasn’t. Surely, I’m no different from other moms.

As she has worked her way toward becoming a professional, my daughter has experienced a plethora of situations and people  in the dance world. Some good, some bad, some so-so.

There are directors who manage like mini-Napoleons; others who remember what it was like to be a dancer. There are dancers who lord it over others, and dancers who work as a team. There’s stress over roles, in part because dancers are clueless as to what the director and his staff are thinking. And then, of course, there’s always the audience to please.

Appearance is important, especially in ballet. Ever since Balanchine introduced spaghetti-thin ballerinas to the art form, directors have adopted the look as standard. Heaven help the dancer with shapely arms and legs and an ample bosom. Although a little wiggle room is beginning to loom on the horizon. Thanks to the efforts of American Ballet Theatre’s stunning soloist, Misty Copeland.

My daughter’s life as a ballet dancer was the best it could be, given what she brought to the table and the opportunities afforded her as a result. Her decision to switch to contemporary dance seemed a natural evolution, since that’s where she was featured the most.

In her current job, dance is the focus for my daughter and her coworkers. Not appearance. Not roles. Not the director. Learning the new movement is exhausting, painful, and enervating. At day’s end, she literally collapses on the sofa applying frozen vegetable bags to both knees. Later, as she crawls under the covers, her lips form a small smile. She can’t wait to be at it again…

…dancing…for the pure joy of…dancing…

………hugmamma.