inspiring words…

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.

For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

-Kahil Gibran-

Courtesy of my friend Claudia at
http://www.humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com

journeying towards her best life…#2

Pat’s story, as told to hugmamma…

In the beginning I remained silent. Not knowing meant not saying anything…to anyone. Perhaps not even to myself.

About a year ago I had carpal tunnel surgery in my right wrist. I wondered why it was I’d gotten carpal tunnel in the first place since I wasn’t its typical candidate. I didn’t craft, and I wasn’t on the computer 24/7. Imagine my surprise when I was told I might need the same surgery on my left wrist.

Strange. Very strange.

Right on the heels of this phenomenon, another occurred. Even weirder.

My tongue swelled…like a balloon fish. One minute it’s flat, the next minute it’s all pouffy.

Not one to panic, I figured I would soon be my old self again. Although when eating became a hazard, I decided it was either me or my tongue. No way I was going to give up eating for the rest of my life. So I sought professional advice.

Figuring anything to do with my mouth involved my teeth, I went to the dentist. He found nothing wrong so I left and went merrily on my way.

Not so merry though, when I couldn’t eat all the usual “ono” food. (Hawaiian for ooh-la-la delicious!!!)

A good friend and co-worker, someone whose friendship I’ll treasure for life, shares my love of food and laughter. 

Mel would bring a cupcake or a brownie which we would split. Not just the common, everyday kind, but the ones that had us drooling because they were so cleverly decorated and scrumptiously flavorful…and terribly sinful. We agreed it was okay though since halving them meant we were each only eating half the calories. Made sense to us.

Now, those days of carefree eating are gone. Replaced by smoothies Mel concocts from fruits and veggies that are brimming with all kinds of good-for-me nutrients.

Because my tongue is swollen my teeth are not aligned. This, in turn, has negatively impacted my ability to chew food. The upside is yyyeeeaaayyy!!!…I’ve lost 20 pounds. The downside? I could eat an entire roasted pig in one sitting! Gumming it if I have to. In fact, if I’m desperate I’ll gum all the flavor out of a favorite food and spit out the remnants. Not very lady-like. But hey! I’m making the most of a bad situation.

One day Mel asked if I wanted to share…a brownie?…a cookie?…chips?…popcorn?…chocolate? Sadly, I declined each and every tempting offer. Her reaction was hilarious, and caught me totally off-guard.  

“I miss Fat Pat. Bring back Fatty Patty!” 

My eyes glistened with tears of happiness. I could laugh in spite of all that lay ahead. 

I’m blest to be supported and comforted by an extended, loving “ohana”…a community of family and good friends. And the Hawaiian music playing in the background reminds me that I’m indeed lucky to be living where the sun shines and the sea is blue and the feeling of Aloha still warms my spirit.

Until next time…Pat.

 

 

friends affect us…

fibromyalgia awareness

Found an interesting post Nine Signs that Unhealthy Friendships are Fueling Your Fibromyalgia at http://asethaviens.com/

I’d go so far as to say that unhealthy relationships of any kind aren’t good for fibromyalgia sufferers. Then again, Asetha is correct in placing so-called friends, at the top of the list.

Friends have quick access to our innermost thoughts and feelings.

We trust friends to offer us words of wisdom.

Aren’t friends the first to whom we turn for compassion…praise…support?

Friendships can, however, become the breeding ground for discontent. Remember the old adage “Familiarity breeds contempt?” It’s sad when that happens. When friends begin to envy our lives in one way or another. 

I don’t suppose even friends realize when they begin to cross the line. Ones who take a dig at you every now and then, thinking you won’t notice or that they’re only thinking of what’s good for you.

What’s good for me.

I believed my mom when she said that to me. However, even she could lead me on a merry chase that way. Nonetheless, she borne me so I knew she had my back. Most of the time, at least.

When others tell me, or imply, that they know what’s good for me. They go too far. Even I don’t always know what’s good for me, so how can someone looking at me on the outside know what’s going on inside?

Companionship with folks like myself who are tentatively making our way through life, humble about our strengths, forgiving of our weaknesses…that’s more my style when it comes to friendships.

Although I can probably count my good friends on one hand, I enjoy the moments we share…and relish seeing them again, whenever.

Not judging others because we don’t walk in their shoes seems the best advice any friend can give another.

…that’s what i offer you…dear friend…

………hugmamma.Nashville 09-2010 00058

what are friends for?

I had a couple of nice outings with two girlfriends recently.

Both are open and forthcoming with their lives…the ups…the downs. They’re also quick to offer words of support when necessary, just as I am when they’re in need.

Women connect on the ground-floor level. Together we take the elevator to the penthouse. Along the way…we get off and on…as life directs. A metaphor to be sure, but good girlfriends travel the floors in life’s elevator together…physically…and spiritually.

Molbaks' Orchids

Molbaks’ Orchids (Photo credit: JHall159)

Suzy and I enjoyed an outing to Molbak’s to take advantage of its outdoor sale…buy 1, get one free. Perrenials, annuals, vines, groundcovers, grasses, shrubs, trees…all outdoor plantings were included. In the decade and a-half that I’ve been frequenting this, my favorite nursery, I’d never seen such a sale. And Suzy hadn’t been to Molbak’s in 30 years, so she was thrilled when I invited her to accompany me.

To and from the nursery the conversation was lively. Suzy and I learned we had much in common. My father died when I was one; hers died when she was four. My mom was manipulative in many ways; so is hers. The comparisons continued. We empathized. We laughed.

Once we arrived at our destination we delighted in the sights that surrounded us, and the delicious lunch served in the cafe. After wandering around the indoor gift shop, we wend our way through the plants, selecting several for purchase.  All in all…a pleasurable outing for both of us.

My friend Mary and I stopped for coffee after exercise class yesterday. She needed a little cheering up, so I gladly obliged. She’s done as much for me.

It’s good to have someone with whom to commiserate. Moms have issues not easily understood by husbands and offspring. Try as we might, we can never seem to get our dilemma across to our loved ones. Easier to turn to other moms, not so much for a solution, as for an immediate “I know just what you mean.” That alone opens the floodgates to fluid conversation.

When all is said and done, life continues on…the load…a little lighter. All a woman needs is a sympathetic ear and a few words of support. No judgments. No put-downs. No unsolicited advice.

Mutual admiration, respect, concern, like, and love…loosely tied ribbons that keep friends close.

English: friends like you

English: friends like you (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…i’m blest with a few…good ones…

………hugmamma.

 

weekly photo challenge: friendship

Friends come in all forms…human, 4-legged, inanimate. We all have them in common. I’m sure you’ll relate to some of mine…because your life is filled with them as well.

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The Heart

The Heart (Photo credit: petalouda62)

…one thing for sure…friendship warms the heart and soul…

………hugmamma.

“do i look like i’m dying?”

…reads the title to Cosmopolitan Magazine‘s recent article about Leslie Krom. It goes on to say “Leslie Krom, 28, has been given a tragic diagnosis. She probably won’t live past the age of 35. Her reaction? Live large–each second she has left.”

Writer Anna Davies captures Leslie’s story in a beautifully written article. But to hear it in Leslie’s own words as she stood onstage only yards away from where I sat at the American Cancer Society fundraiser last night, was indeed gut-wrenching. I don’t know if I’d have wept fewer tears were I not so in love with my own beautiful daughter, the keeper of my heart and soul.

At times I wanted to embarrass myself and stride boldly onto the stage to enfold Leslie into my arms to quiet the tears that interrupted her words now and again. Even now my eyes well up as I remember her confidence, halting at times because of the diseases that afflict her…cancer and epilepsy.

Leslie’s pleas were to “savor the moments” she and others like her, have yet to live. Her tears weren’t those of self-pity, although my mother’s heart broke when she recalled how middle-schoolers taunted her bald scalp and bloated body upon her return from battling cancer. Reliving the bad times seemed to energize her argument for ensuring that children with cancer be  afforded the opportunity to be loved as they are, and to thrive as best they can, looking forward to the wonderful times the rest of us take for granted.

A beauty, a red-head, well-spoken, always smiling, a sense of humor, a spokesperson for those unable to speak so eloquently, a child any mother could be proud of…I give you…Leslie Krom…as told to Anna Davies for Cosmopolitan Magazine.

   Recently, I was at happy hour with some friends when a cute guy walked up to me. “What does a pretty girl like you do with yourself?” he asked, clearly flirting. The bar was buzzing with young people burning off postwork energy. And while I looked like I belonged there, I knew I was different. I paused to think for a second, then responded, “Mostly, I take care of myself. It’s kind of a full-time job.”
   I’m sure he interpreted that as my being a high-maintenance diva with a trust fund and a calendar full of salon appointments–which couldn’t be further from the truth. What I meant was, I have cancer. It’s going to kill me very soon. And dealing with that is a full-time job.
  
 A Really Bad Hand
   A few years ago, everything in my life was clicking into place. Despite being diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, when I was 13, I’d been in remission for more than 10 years. I had a cool new job, a cute apartment in a trendy Seattle neighborhood, and weekends filled with yoga classes, volunteering, and hanging out with friends.
   When I was 25, my doctor had given me more bad news: I’d developed uncontrolled epilepsy. When I started having frequent seizures, I had to quit my job and move in with my mom. But within a year, doctors had come up with a combo of meds for me, and my seizures were becoming a bit more manageable. I convinced my mom that I could go back to living on my own.
   I thought my life was almost back on track, but I was in for a major shock: I had cancer again. This time, it was a rare type called multiple myeloma. And even though it was still in a very early stage and could remain that way for several years, my doctor said that once it began growing–and it would–it would kill me. Not in decades, but in years. Basically, I was going to die, most likely before I turned 35.
   I felt like I’d been hit by a sledge-hammer. Wasn’t it enough that I was a childhood cancer survivor? That I had epilepsy? How could life be so unfair? I don’t even remember how I got home, but when I did, I just curled up in bed and hibernated. I couldn’t come to terms with my new future. I wouldn’t get married. I wouldn’t have kids. Any chance of having a typical life was over.
   A Life Worth Living
   After two weeks of sleeping and crying, I finally told my mom. We’d been through so much together–she’s always been my main source of support–I felt guilty putting something this huge on her plate. But she jumped right into action, immediately urging me to focus on the good. It was hard to see that there was anything good about my life at first, but I started seeing a therapist, and little by little, I saw it. I have my mom. I have friends. And I’ve always had a backbone of steel.
   I needed that backbone when I broke the news to my friends. It’s really uncomfortable to sit there while peoploe cry and feel sorry for you. And while they all meant well, sometimes what came out of their mouths pissed me off. One friend held my hand and intensely said, “I know you’re dying, and I’ll be by your side every step of the way.” I yanked my hand away and snapped, “I’m not dying!” It’s not that I’m in denial–I know I have a terminal disease. But if I lived my life thinking about how I’m dying, it would be impossible to go on.
   I told my friends this: I want them to treat me like Leslie the girl who bungee jumps every chance she gets, not Leslie the girl who’s dying.
   For the next couple of years, I focused on having fun. I searched for the best sushi spots, went on girlie getaways, and smiled my way through a few online dates. But as the cancer progressed, it was time to make a huge decision about my treatment. A stem-cell transplant or radiation had better chances of fighting the disease. But I chose a low-dose round of oral chemo–the least invasive option, with the worst odds against my cancer.
   It was an easy choice for me. I didn’t want to spend my life feeling weak or in a hospital. I didn’t want to be away from the people I love. I chose quality of life over quantity. Some people felt I wasn’t fighting hard enough. But I say, there’s nothing to battle because I already know cancer will never win. Friendship and love are stronger than cancer. My memories are stronger than cancer. And my spirit is way stronger than cancer.
   I won’t say having cancer doesn’t suck. I often sleep for 23 hours straight, I have joint pain, and I have no idea what’s going on inside my own body. But I see an opportunity: I know when and how I’m going to die, so I’m not wasting time. I’m doing everything I’ve ever wanted to do–like going on all the rides at the Stratosphere in Vegas and diving with sea turtles off the coast of Mauinow. And I plan to keep flirting it up with hot guys at happy hour until it’s time for me to go.

“Out of the mouths of babes.” Could we who have lived longer said it any better? Savor the moment…

…for each one adds up to…a life lived…fully…

………hugmamma.

blogger to the rescue…embedding youtube

There’s a definite camaraderie among WordPress bloggers. It’s no more evident than when someone reaches out to lend a helping hand. Friend and fellow blogger, Kate at http://believeanyway.wordpress.com answered my request for someone knowledgeable in inserting Youtube videos into posts. I’d been able to do it before, but for no apparent reason that I could discern, I was no longer able to do so.

Wensicia

Image via Wikipedia

Coming to my rescue like a princess on a white charger was Kate’s friend Connie at http://ahopefortoday.com She emailed me the following instructions which even I could easily understand. I’ve been wanting to share them with you should you ever find yourself up a creek without a paddle…or canoe…as is usually my situation.

Embedding a Youtube Video
by Connie Wayne

1. Select your Youtube video.
2. Click on “share.”
3. Click on “embed.”
4. Copy html code in pop up box.
5. Return to your post draft.
6. Click on HTML (upper right corner above body of draft).
7. Place cursor where you want to insert the video. Paste. html code should “drop” into place.
8. Click back to Visual.
9. Save draft.
10. Voila! You’ve done it. You’ll either see the html code, or an empty colored box.
11. Preview post. You should see the Youtube video.
 

You might want to check out Connie’s daily, inspirational offering of the day. When you visit her blog, tell her…

…whatever you like…she’s all ears…and all heart…

………hugmamma.  😉

friends…collecting vs. investing

Much is made of immersing oneself in friendships, and I agree wholeheartedly. How one goes about doing so is impacted by one’s childhood and life experiences. Trust is often a contributing factor, as is genuine caring for one another’s well-being.

Just Between Friends

Image via Wikipedia

Making friends and keeping them is easy for some. For others, making friends is easy; keeping them, not so much. And yet for others, making friends is difficult and keeping them is easy. Finally, I am truly sorry for those who find both making and keeping them impossible.

Because of insecurities that have plagued me all my life, a direct result of my mom’s own ongoing struggles, I vaccillate between making friends easily and keeping them, and making friends easily and seeing them drift away.

In discovering my own peace within society’s expectations, I find I don’t need to collect friends…just to ensure that I won’t be alone as the years pass. Rather, I find truly investing in a few, inclusive of my husband and daughter, is enough for me.

I love people, as they are. I don’t expect them to change for me. And I desire the same in return. Trying to meld personalities is not always easy…and I don’t battle for compatibility…not being a fan of confrontation. Too much depletes my spirit…and saddens me.

Investing regularly of self, time, and energy is the only sure-fire way of maintaining relationships. Letting months go by can impact their solidity, especially in times of strife. Opening up to one another, regularly, is the glue.

English: friends like you

Image via Wikipedia

My blogger friends invest as much as they can, given their own lives and responsibilities. So that’s a common understanding amongst us from the get-go. I love when they’re in my life, but understand when they’re not. But when we pick up again…it’s as though we never stopped talking. The admiration and support is still there.

Don’t just collect friends for security…invest in them fully…with your thoughts, your passions, your insecurities, your dreams…and let them do the same with you.

Demanding friends be loyal runs counter to being a friend. Accept friendship as it is offered…when it lapses…be grateful for what it had been…

…cherish the memories…and move forward…knowing that you’ve a wonderful life…and are blest for having had a few moments of someone’s time…i am…

………hugmamma. 😉

Two friends

Image via Wikipedia

365 photo challenge: companionship

No man is an island,
No man stands alone,
Each man’s joy is joy to me,
Each man’s grief is my own.

We need one another,
So I will defend,
Each man as my brother,
Each man as my friend.

I saw the people gather,
I heard the music start,
The song that they were singing,
Is ringing in my heart.

No man is an island,
Way out in the blue,
We all look to the one above,
For our strength to renew.

When I help my brother,
Then I know that I,
Plant the seed of friendship,
That will never die.

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companionship…affirms our existence…

………hugmamma.

william and his kate…my wish for

Royal Wedding Will and Kates Story

Image by Pesky Library via Flickr

We are being inundated with coverage of the upcoming royal wedding between the future king of England and his queen, William and Kate. Ever since they announced their engagement to the world, they seem always to be smiling. They seem to wear their happiness well. Perhaps they have already learned what so many married couples take decades to figure out. If they have, then they may not need the advice of relationship expert, Leo Buscaglia. But it never hurts to heap on the well wishes for longevity in what already appears to be a solid friendship, and a grand love affair. Buscaglia writes in his book, Loving Each Other…

We cannot look for joy as we do a lost article of clothing. We make our own happiness. we define it for ourselves and experience it in our unique way. No one can be happy for us nor tell us what should make us happy, though people will always try. The sad fact is that we fall into Madison Avenue traps which convince us that happiness is the right drink, the flashy automobile, the scented deodorant, bursting-with-health cereal or the special snack food. Even the wisest among us are seduced by the exuberant TV ad or the seductive graphic into believing that we, too, can change our lives if we switch to a new mouthwash. We never stop to think that there is nothing in the world which can be given or denied us that will bring us happiness unless we decide it. In fact, the happiest people in the world would probably still be happy if stripped of everything except life.

Kate and Wills

Image by JeanM1 via Flickr

…Perhaps much happiness is lost in the pursuit of it. Hawthorne in his American Notebooks said that happiness always comes incidentally. “Make it the object of pursuit,” he added, “and it leads us on a wild goose chase and is never attained.” He suggests that we should lose our way and follow something totally unrelated. In that way we often happen on happiness without ever dreaming it would be there.

We are far too rational in our relationships, far too ordered, organized and predictable. We need to find a place, just this side of madness and irrationality, where we can, from time to time, leave the mundane and move into spontaneity and serendipity, a level that includes a greater sense of freedom and risk–an active environment full of surprises, which encourages a sense of wonder. Here, ideas and feelings which would otherwise be difficult to state can be expressed freely. A bond of love is easy to find in an environment of joy. When we laugh together we bypass reason and logic, as the clown does. We speak a universal language. We feel closer to one another.

Royal Wedding Flags Go Up On Regents Street, L...

Image by DG Jones via Flickr

…Joy and happiness are simply states of mind. As such they can help us to find creative solutions. When we feel joyful, euphoric, happy, we are more open to life, more capable of seeing things clearly and handling daily tensions.

…”Joy comes into our lives,” Joseph Addison says, “when we have something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”

Live fully and with abandon. Love totally and without fear. Hope splendidly and never relinquish the dream. These will help us but joy will only be ours when we choose it. As Abraham Lincoln reminded us, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

William and Kate Royal Wedding plates

Image by Ben Sutherland via Flickr

and may I add…

long life and…everlasting happiness…to sylvia’s king and queen…william and…his kate…hugmamma.

tears…of joy

When my husband recounted a conversation he’d had with our daughter this morning, it brought tears to my eyes and laughter to my lips. I couldn’t stop myself from doing either, so I gave in to both.

To celebrate one of the dancer‘s birthdays, her friends, fellow dancers, staged a scavenger hunt throughout town. My daughter and 2 others came up with the list of clues, shared them with Kelsey’s boyfriend, and passed them along to the other dancers who were involved in the hunt.

An example of a Trader Joe's storefront

Image via Wikipedia

As a ruse, Kelsey and her boyfriend were to spend the evening alone. First he told her he wanted to stop at the coffee shop he manages, and where they first met. When they arrived, one of the dancers happened to be there and in conversation passed along the first of the clues. Kelsey was confused but cooperated, with a little nudge from her boyfriend. Driving to Trader Joe’s they were “surprised” to see Kim, another dancer, who dropped the second clue. At this point, Kelsey, a very savvy girl, caught on to the game, and was raring to continue. Along the way, they encountered my daughter, and on it went.

Much to the chagrin of the dancers and friend Heather who was hosting the party following the hunt, Kelsey was ahead of schedule by half-an-hour. Everyone was texting one another to hurry on over to party-central before the birthday girl arrived. Needless to say, she was enthralled with the entire evening’s fun, and her friends were pleased with themselves for having pulled it off.

A man and a woman performing a modern dance.

Image via Wikipedia

The evening was bitter-sweet for Kelsey and her friends, for she will not be returning next year. Instead she will be moving to another state to work with a modern dance company. She’s been a great friend of my daughter’s, but I know they’ll keep in touch for dancers are great that way.

The previous evening our daughter had accompanied another dancer friend, Kim, to a symphony concert. Having played the violin for many years, our daughter has never lost her love of it. Continuing to dance to classical music, keeps her relationship with the instrument a perpetual one. She was quite taken with the guest violinist who performed with the symphony.

Following the concert, our daughter drove to another friend’s home where a party was underway. The group had a great time playing a board game, with which I’m not familiar. Their fun lasted well into the wee hours of the morning. Like Kelsey, Robert, who hosted the game party, will be leaving the ballet to pursue a modern dance career elsewhere.

It amazes me how these young dancers dedicate themselves to their passion, sometimes working 2 or 3 jobs to live their dream. And when they come to a crossroads, as Kelsey and Robert have, they do what they must to continue their journey in pursuit of that dream. Because of their dedication, work ethic, discipline, and unwavering ability to hope, these dancers will be alright. Wherever their paths may lead, they’ve already accomplished more than some folks twice their age. They’ve figured out how to deal with life and its many pitfalls.

So while I’m sad they must part company with good friends, my daughter in particular, I’m happy for the joy they will spread as they make their way among others.

glad for knowing…and sharing hugs…with kelsey and robert…hugmamma.

coffee with friends, so much more than

If women were the world leaders of governments, corporations, learning institutions, medical facilities, courts of justice, sports teams, the entertainment and music industries, and any other body having great societal impact, they’d probably do their venting over coffee with girlfriends.

Coffee with the women means, friends gathering together to vent about anything, and everything. Surely centuries old, this female ritual has probably saved countless marriages, and kept our prison population from overflowing. Our ancestors, cave women, must have wanted to crack a few skulls. Being dragged around by the hair would not have been an endearing prospect. Native American women didn’t drink coffee (or did they?) but using smoke signals to communicate their marital woes was, perhaps, the start of environmental pollution. A frontier wife might have envied Annie Oakley her skills with a gun, when her cowboy came through the door smelling of whiskey and women. And a Victorian lady must’ve ripped off her corset and took a swig, when she was in a snit. Would Sonny and Cher have continued as a duo, if she’d had regularly done coffee with the women? “And the beat goes on, and the beat goes on. La, de, da, de, do, la, de, da, de, day…”

Women, coffee and conversation are like a game of Ouija. One speaks, another interrupts, the first resumes speaking, and the ebb and flow of conversation continues. The chatter is spirited, peals of laughter ring out, continuing to ripple through the group. Then voices quiet into whispers, while knowing glances and nodding heads silently agree that “it’s so frustrating…” whether it’s talk of jobs, husbands, children, mothers, even mother-in-laws. All agree that these sessions are more productive than paying for psychotherapy and a lot more fun as well.

The best coffee gatherings are among women whose personalities are in accord. Allowing one another time to speak, rather than hogging the conversation is also important. Egos are stroked, each feeling uplifted knowing others care, so that they needn’t continue shouldering their burdens alone. Coffee (for me) with a good friend (tea for her) became an important “life-line” when I moved with my, then 16-year-old, daughter to Atlanta. For two-and-a-half years I chaperoned her while she journeyed toward a career in ballet. My husband, our financial support, remained behind.

When my daughter was invited to train with the professional company where we relocated, our family consented without hesitation. Rushing forward without thought, we moved into an apartment with my husband’s help. The day he departed for home, we breakfasted at a pancake house. It was then that the finality of our decision hit me like a “ton of bricks.” I burst into tears. Ever the pragmatic one, my husband assured me he’d visit in a month or so. That seemed like an eternity to be without my best friend of so many years. But as moms have always done, I “placed one foot in front of the other,” and carried on.

It’s been about 5 years since I returned home to my husband. Having apprenticed with a ballet company in another state, my daughter was promoted to full member a year ago. She begins her second season this fall. Through hard work and maturity beyond her years, she has accomplished every young ballerina’s dream. There were peaks and valleys to be sure, but my daughter weathered them with our help, and the encouragement and prayers of many who have loved and supported her through the years.

Offering me a shoulder upon which to lean, or cry, was a woman who became, and remains, a very dear friend. It wasn’t unusual for Becky and I to linger over a cup of coffee, or tea, for hours, kibbitzing about her son and my daughter. Both aspired to being professional ballet dancers. We’d compare “war” stories about people with whom we had dealings, who seemed insensitive to the difficulties our children encountered. Very little was ever resolved, but reinvigorated, we could return to parenting, knowing a friend was nearby.

I was able to offer Becky some advice, since I was already in the midst of helping my daughter wend her way through the maze of becoming a career ballerina. It is such a singular path, not like being in college with thousands of like-minded youngsters. How one dancer succeeds is not a ready prescription for another’s success. But from my observations, certain facts seemed applicable to every wannabe professional.

Success seems dependent upon 50% talent and 50% other factors like a solid work ethic, quickness at learning choreography, resiliency to criticism, continuing good health, and a lot of luck. It certainly doesn’t hurt to be “in the right place, at the right time.” When it comes to casting, being a favorite of resident and visiting choreographers is a plus. Less tangible is having “the look” that an artistic director wants for a role or for the company in general. This alone can force a dancer to audition wherever there may be openings, in the hopes of a perfect match. With much effort and good fortune, a job is found, if not, the dream will likely end.

Deciding to go the college route, Becky’s son graduated with a Fine Arts Degree in Dance. To his credit and due diligence, he is in his second year apprenticing with a ballet company. This is no small feat in the current economy when the arts are suffering the loss of patronage.

Belonging to a rare breed of women, moms of professional ballet dancers, Becky and I continue to enjoy a mutually supportive friendship. Circumstances may prevent us from meeting as we once did, but given the ease of travel these days, it’s not too far-fetched to assume we’ll be meeting for coffee, tea and friendly conversation somewhere, some time… 

it’ll be like old times, only better…hugmamma.