When I was about six years old I wrote down what I wanted to be when I grew up in my journal. I obviously had big dreams, because I wanted to be a "singer, dancer, actor, entertainer, musician, mother."
As I grew older, I suppose I was all of those things. For a really long time I focused only on the "dancer" part of the equation. I was going to be a ballerina in some big professional company. I went to ballet class at the Utah Regional Ballet every single day. I stretched out in my bedroom every night and sometimes I even worked on my pliés and my échappés before climbing into bed. I loved it. The greatest day of my life was finally getting to be en pointe and going to buy my new pointe shoes.
Then, one day, my hips started to pop during barre work, and soon I could no longer lift my leg very far off the ground. It was discouraging, especially after I had worked so hard to be able to get it up to my ear! My mom took me to a doctor and basically we found that I had some strange condition that caused my tendon to pop off of the bone and then swell up with all of the repeated movements in ballet. There was nothing to be done.
I had to quit.
And so, at the age of 14, my dreams of being a dancer were pretty much dashed to pieces.
So then I focused on being a "singer" and "actor.". I took voice lessons and enrolled in choir and drama classes. I became heavily involved in the Thespian troupe at my high school, and decided to major in Musical Dance Theater in college. However, a twist of fate landed me in the Music Department instead, majoring in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy.
Now I was really focusing on the "singer" and beginning to learn what it really means to be a "musician." Somewhere during college I may have lost sight of the "mother" part of my original dream, because I was pretty sure that I wanted to sing professionally and that's all. Then, the Spirit kicked me in the pants and I served a mission and came home with a new focus. I met Joel, and while it isn't exactly a short story, the rest is history.
Sometimes in quiet moments I wonder just how I got here. I am a woman who spends half of her time doing dishes and folding laundry. Another quarter of my time is spent in the car shuttling kids to their various schools, lessons and other activities. Even my nights are full of comforting nightmares, changing sheets or helping sick little girls. Sometimes I even wonder just why I ever wanted to be a mother, as it certainly isn't as glamorous as being on the stage. I wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn't married and had children.
In the nearly ten years that I have been a mother, I have had various levels of career mixed in. Lately it's been at a much higher level, but there were times there when I had only one or two vocal students and I was able to focus on motherhood in a way I really can't right now. It was during those times that I developed some of my other talents and interests, such as scrapbooking and photography. For a while I even thought that if I were to go back to school I wouldn't get my Master's degree in music, but that I would do it in photography.
But lately, I realize that my true love really is singing, and performing, and being on stage. And I'm thrilled I get to do it more and more. However, I don't know how to balance the motherhood side of things. Sometimes I wish I didn't have the drive to do something more. I wish that being mom was enough for me.
I've come to terms with the fact that this is my nature. I don't think I could truly be happy if there wasn't a little something else to do. After all, even as a little girl I wanted to do it all. My focus now has to be how to find balance and give my girls all that they need from me, while still giving myself what I need. Some days I fail miserably, and others I do pretty well, if I do say so myself.
I may not be everything I wanted to be, but I am a singer, musician and mother. (Entertainer is debatable.)
What's more, is that the "mother" part is no longer an afterthought, like it seemed to be when I was six. While the music I am supposed to be learning is sitting on my piano, neglected for weeks, my children are my first thought as I wake in the morning, my focus during the day, and the last thought before I finally drift off to sleep.
It is who I am.