There she is. The picture above is from my daughter’s first dance recital. It represents the ending of her introduction to dancing and, hopefully, the beginning of her interest in it. It also represents something deeply personal for me. It connects me to the dreams I had before becoming a mother.
As the recital was going on, I frequently looked around the room and noticed how proud the dads were of their little princesses. I especially noticed the expressions of admiration and complete love the moms had while watching their little loves. Watching their granddaughter dance brought back memories for my parents as well of when I was a young one twirling around on the stage. Regardless of what may have occurred during the day, watching innocence on a stage brought us all back to what is truly important in life – children.
My eyes teared up while watching my sweet one dance around the stage. I once dreamed of moments like this. Growing up and into adulthood with the thought that I would never be a mother made me wonder about all of the precious little memories I would miss out on. Things like watching a child walk for the first time, hearing the word “mama”, seeing excitement on Christmas morning, putting artwork on the refrigerator, passing on traditions, and watching recitals or various other activities. My thoughts and longings were more than about not being able to have a baby. I grieved over the possibility of not being able to explore talents, interests, and just life in general with a child.
I fretted over what my life would be like without children. I wanted so much to pass on the good things I have learned in life and to steer a child away from the things that have caused me pain. I believe that raising up children assures us that perhaps a little bit of us will linger on throughout life even when we have passed on. If I never was able to do this, then there would not be any reminders of who I am after this life is over. This is one thing about infertility that I am not sure a lot of people understand. The simple act of watching a dance recital brought back the flood of emotions regarding my previous childless life.
Infertility is so complex and rears its ugly head from time to time when least expected. But, in some respect, I am thankful that it catches me off guard. I do not know if I would be able to run on the mountain tops with the full knowledge of how truly gifted I am to be a mother if I did not have the experience of being barren and walking through the valleys of infertility.
Thank You, Lord, for gifting me with the responsibility, hope, and simple joys of children. Hold me accountable Father to Your will for my children. Remind me, oh Lord, of my previous sorrow so that I will never take for granted the delight I now have. Thank You, Lord, for walking me through the valley of infertility. I praise You for running me along this mountain top of parenthood and for fulfilling my dreams.
3 Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the girl I was before my hysterectomy. My surgery was not just another one chalked up in the history of who I am. It was a life-changing event. It was something that tarnished my rose-colored glasses view of the world.
I had not been a stranger to the hospital or illnesses before. At age two, I underwent an emergency appendectomy. At age seven, intestinal adhesions caused a blockage calling for another emergency surgery. But, the hysterectomy was a far more intense and dire experience.
This surgery affected everyone around me. It was not just about recovery. It was more than that. It was a game changer. My parent’s lives were instantly changed by it. My life, of course, was too.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed life. There was still laughter, new experiences, and friendships. But, after the surgery, sadness stowed itself away in me unbeknownst to many people.
Prior to this surgery, I was a dancer. By the time I was eleven, I had danced for eight years. I danced competitively and dreamt of performing on Broadway. My ultimate goal was to be a choreographer. However, something changed in me following the surgery. My body did not move the same way. It took more effort. My muscles had been emaciated from the infection and, to be honest, my spirit had been dampened by it as well.
Within a few years after my recovery, I quit dancing. I don’t know why really. My dance teacher told me many years later that she believed if the surgery would have never happened, I could have been a professional dancer. She too thought that it changed my body’s ability to move and nearly wiped me clean of the strength I once had.
So, here I am now at age forty still thinking of the days I danced. I’ve decided to write a poem to the little girl I once was whose dreams of dancing went to the wayside. I know that when my walk on this Earth has ended, I will be dancing before the Lord.
Dance away, little dancer. Dance before His throne. Dance for all the pain you have once known.
No longer taste the salt in your tears. Feel the movement taking away all of your fears.
Dance your life into a story, and let it be all for His glory.
Point your toes with every ounce of grace. See the expression of love on His face.
Dance away, little dancer. The one who longed to know the answer.
The answer to why that fateful time came. The longing for a life that would never be the same.
Your life interrupted with no fault of your own. In a single moment, your life’s tapestry was sewn.
Welcome home, little dancer. For now, you know the answer.
His love is your melody. Dance your praise for eternity.
You’ve danced your life into a story. And, it all has been for His glory.