This is Me

I am a wife, a sister, an employer, and friend. I am a person who needs to feel love, purpose, and inspiration to thrive, and someone who counts the quality of relationship as the greatest metric of success, but also dreams of accolades and fancy trips. I am someone who works the details and delves into big feelings to accomplish goals. Sometimes I get lost in myopic distractions, but I try to surround myself with incredibly honest, intelligent people who help me stay on track. I try to be aware of and continue to search for my strengths and my weaknesses. I am always trying to be better.

All these things are me and I have had the great fortune to bask in significant societal successes, but I am Mitchell’s mom first, foremost, and forever, and I want to be the very best mom I can be! Two of the many tools I use to do that is, self- care and work. In many ways, I have been building careers since I was fifteen so that I could be the best mom possible to the best kid in the world! It’s the most important and rewarding job I’ve ever had! It’s also the hardest.

I have been a professional actor, an educator, and a business owner for over 30 years, but it wasn’t until I became a special needs mom that I finally found my true purpose. It wasn’t until I had to face down the real meaning of trust, control, and the actual possibility of losing my child that I discovered who I really am.

As a performer, I learned the value of empathy and community. I honed tenacity, resilience, and failure until I became an expert in appreciating hard work, process, and success. And I realized that behaving with engagement care is often much more impactful than being right. Acting taught me to focus! To find my objective and fight for it through any obstacle, whether it be self-inflicted or circumstances out of my control. I learned from and worked with extraordinary talents that helped me develop a life long, hungry appreciation for the study of the human experience, for our stories and our connections. I learned how to hold the spotlight with awareness and humility but stride in confidence, and I came to cherish the magnificent power of relationship. As a performer, I learned how to listen!

As an educator, I learned that if we communicate with succinct compassion, people are open, kind, and capable of extraordinary things, especially children. I learned that to believe in ourselves we not only need someone to believe in us, but we also need great teachers. I learned that teaching isn’t about doing so much as understanding why and how to accomplish a goal and the ability to break down and help practice the process of learning. I spent over 25 years practicing and studying communication, development, and perspective. I learned how to lay a proper foundation of healthy expectations followed by developmentally appropriate, positive follow through. And, I learned how to break things down so the student could become independent with the skill and then make it their own. I learned when and how to be tough and when and how to be soft. As an educator, I realized that all the technique in the world means nothing if trust and communication are not built first, and I learned that although no one can take the place of a parent, often parents are not the best teachers. As an educator I helped students reach heights they didn’t know they were allowed to reach for, become aware of tone and delivery, consider others, problem solve, and think about their actions from inception to consequence. As an educator, I learned the value of work over words, of collaboration, and second chances. And I learned to never stop learning. As an educator, I learned to listen!

As a business owner, I learned that real power comes from speaking truth and setting Boundaries with sincerity and care, that nothing can replace time and experience, and that I cannot please everyone. I discovered the more clear I could be with my expectations the more successful relationships and productivity became. As a business owner, I learned to honor myself and the accomplishments I achieved over the opinions of others. I learned that no amount of money is worth promising more than I can deliver and that nothing holds more worth than valuing oneself appropriately. As a business owner I learned that everyone is coming from something and somewhere I may not understand but that unless I hold true to my mission, I can not supply the service I promise to provide. As a business owner, I learned to listen.

 

As a special needs mom, I learned that what I want is not always something I can make happen, that what’s fair is not always possible, and that grieving comes in many forms including gratitude and love. As a special needs mom, I learned that in order to help my child I first had to heal myself. And I am constantly to learn how to let go of the way I thought I wanted life to go and appreciate the moments I am given. Because, no matter how prepared I am or how diligent, no matter how kind or conscientious I am, it is not in my power to heal my son. It’s only in my power to love him, learn everything I can, find the best doctors I can, and be the best version of myself possible.

I have taught thousands of students, put on hundreds of musicals, developed multiple theatre schools and programs in Southern California, Colorado, and Philadelphia, including Colorado Children’s Theatre that began as a small school in the foothills of Denver and grew into four locations, earned multiple awards, and touts hundreds of success stories. I have taught professional actors, am an award-winning actor and choreographer, and a SAG accredited actress. I have studied with renowned teachers including Kristen Linklater at Emerson College, Karen Tobey, Members of the Stella Adler and Lewis Smith Academies. And I am a consultant for many new entrepreneurs trying to create a business out of creative endeavors.

My goals have changed and I am not driven by professional success but by the need to be the best I can for myself, my son, and all the parents struggling to not only survive but thrive in a world that is not yet ready to embrace everyone, especially those with special needs. I try every day to stay in the moment, let go of injustices I can’t control and practice faith.

My son is sick, and sometimes it’s hard to be his mom. Sometimes the hard times last longer than I have the capacity to regulate. But, being his mom has also been the greatest gift of my life. I am so grateful to have come this far. To have relationships that fill me up and make me feel loved and supported. I am proud of the person I have become, the person I am still becoming, the person I have always wanted to be.

I would trade it all for my son to not suffer. I would trade it all for my little boy. But I can’t. So I will love and live the best I can. Am I grateful for that too.

All I want now is to share what I have learned, to stand beside other parents who have been where I have been, I don’t have all the answers, but I will never stop searching for them, and I know I will never have to do it alone!

I am sad and scared, and I am angry. But I am strong and full of love. I am growing. I see myself and I see my child and I am floored with emotion.

I am grateful.

This is me.

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