The Greatest Showman" yet? If not, I beg of you, go see it!
The last line of the movie is sung as the main character sits at his daughter's dance recital. He says "It's everything you ever want. It's everything you ever need, and it's here right in front of you."
I lived that moment. And although I would never, ever say that I've had regret because of the choice I made, the dreams I lived with for most of my young life didn't just disappear, you know? They just sort of hid away, and once in a while, they still sneak back into my thoughts and I miss them.
Anyway, back to my story.
Up until my "retirement" at age 23, ha ha, I had pretty much been singing all my life. I was good and I knew it. (Please know this isn't me bragging. This is me telling my honest story.) I had listened to people all my life tell me how famous I was going to be. I was used to lead roles and special invitations. Used to praises and requests for autographs "for when you're famous". I sang anything and everything, from Country to Pop to Musical Theater and I loved all of it. Celine Dion was probably my favorite to sing, but I also had a deep love for the theater. I dreamed of playing roles like Eponine or Fantine in "Les Miserables", and later, Elphaba in "Wicked". Although I had retired almost a decade earlier, I cried when I turned 32 because it meant I was too old to audition for that role.
But through all of that, I was loving every moment of being a mother. Newborn babies are my jam, you guys, and I could have had twenty! The way I felt about performing? The praises and compliments of others? I had those same things in my journey as a young mother. I was good and I knew it. Having babies and toddlers never stressed me out. I was completely comfortable with my abilities as a mom, and truly felt like I could do anything and everything. I did all the things while juggling five kids under 8. (Sometimes seven kids, if Tyler and Mariah were in town.) I cooked, crocheted, quilted, made bedding, curtains, Christmas stockings and Halloween costumes. I made this super killer cardboard fort:
But all along, in the back of my brain, sat those panic attacks. That anxiety that I'd dealt with on and off all my life. It was there, and through a "series of unfortunate events", it came for me...