“Welcome to the fog! I’m thrilled you came! Now, let’s get started…
Most importantly, I am a Wife to a kind, loving and supportive man who has the patience of Mother Theresa (thank goodness), and Mommy to Zachary and Isabelle, two exquisite beings 16 months apart, and at this writing, both under three. These are the nuts and bolts…the constants and most vital.
But before these blessings, I was defined by my success or lack thereof (depending on what day you ask) within my field as a Broadway performer.
I booked my first Broadway show shortly after my graduation from college and was fortunate enough to hop from hit to hit for the ten years that followed, basking in a stability that most often is not synonymous with our Business of Show.
In all of my youthful naïveté I perched upon my oyster, with pride and conviction that I would continue to tear through the tape of each lofty goal I set with relative ease and unwavering speed. Why not? All signs pointed in that direction. Broadway Stardom? Of course! Wife and Mother? Double of course! I had never entertained the idea of leaving those items unchecked.
But as most 20 Somethings, I was a bit disillusioned about what it means to “Have it all”, a concept for women that has recently taken its turn in the hot-seat as kindling for much heated debate.
One of the most poignant statements ever said to me came from the mouth of my theatre agent. I was pregnant with my first baby girl, rattling off a diatribe of requests to keep the treadmill moving at high-speed during my transition into Motherhood.
“Emily. You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at the same time”
With a “tisk tisk ” I brushed off the remark. I mean, had he met me?
I had concocted the most brilliant of schemes. I conceived effortlessly while performing in a show out-of-town. This would be cake! I would take my maternity leave, give birth, finish out my contract and head back into the welcoming arms of Time’s Square before anyone could say,
“Hey! Did I hear you had a baby?”
The best laid plans.
While I’ve heard rumors about the humor God often finds in our plans, I’m quite certain the God I believe in did not find anything funny about what actually happened to these plans. I’ll let you read more about that in the “Kennedy’s Footprints” section, but there marked the end of an era.
My superwoman armor came crashing down like a tray of crystal flutes in a bustling ballroom.
Nothing has sobered me up to my own limitations than the last four and a half years. They have certainly not been void of extraordinary blessings, (see previous nuts and bolts) but the road to creating my family was most definitely not an easy one, and I have subsequently slammed my own fingers in doors to career opportunities along the way. It would seem that for me, jumping back on that speeding treadmill, a baby on each hip is just as impossible as the metaphor suggests.
In fact, I would venture to say that at the moment, I am sprawled out in a giant face-plant behind the moving belt.
If my mouth wasn’t so full of humble pie, I would shout back at the universe,
“Enough already! I get it! Lesson learned! I am NOT completely, totally, unstoppably awesome!”
Except that I am. In all of my flawed mortality.
Underneath the thick layers of muck from the last few years, still lies that teeny tiny seed of belief. And, I’m in good company with each and every one of you in your unstoppable awesomeness.
Sometimes, we just have to eat some dirt, spit it out, and regroup.
Perhaps it is in these very moments on the ground that we are pulled to our knees, swiveled around and led to a path we never knew existed – A path offering more abundance, depth and meaning than our own best laid plans.
At least from down here, where I sit, I sure as heck hope so!
So, I’ve decided to put a spin on my agent’s statement.
“You can have it all, you just have to redefine the word ALL“
While I would love to play the role of the mighty altruistic sage, sitting atop my stoop, holding the lantern for those walking the same path of rediscovery, I have found that most often, those listening hold that lantern for Me.
Either way, let’s all join together and chase the dawn. Shall we?