Best Parts and Worst Parts

April 19, 2012

in Naked Girl Has Guests

My guest today is Heidi Cave of Fancy Feet. She writes about her life today as well as a tragedy she experienced years ago. The car accident resulted in losing her best friend (a passenger) and both feet. Heidi was also badly burned in the accident. Her positive outlook and fierce determination to survive is remarkable. Heidi’s story is beautifully written.

Please visit Heidi at Fancy Feet and follow her on Twitter. She is a talented writer and a warm, loving person. You will be happy you got to know her.

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Heidi Cave Family photo

At dinner our family of four takes turns telling each other the best and worst parts of our day. I started it about two years ago to get us talking and listening, to peek inside my kids’ lives.

Week to week, most of our stories are the same.

Best parts: Sun, playing with friends, sun (it rains frequently, so when the sun makes an appearance it is everyone’s best part of the day). Worst parts: Math for eight-year-old Annie. Six-year-old Ben shrugs his shoulders and claims he doesn’t have a ‘worst part’.

Sometimes the stories vary. Annie didn’t hate math today. She walked away from soccer at recess. She’s excited about the new topic for Social Studies: government. With this revelation, I said, “Teach me everything you know, so I can understand it.” Ben loves dinner (It’s about immediate gratification for him). A friend smacked him at school. No music and gym makes for a grim day. In the middle of all-the-busy it is time set aside to choose what matters to us.

When I had Annie I did not find my calling in my child. I heard moms talk of being awed by their births and babies. I anticipated that moment of reveling in my firstborn, finding joy in my new role. After having Annie I received a card that was meant to inspire, “Your life will never be the same. Life didn’t exist until this heavenly creature was born.”

As my new baby lay across my chest during one of many sleep-deprived nights I missed my former life. It was my secret. I felt trapped and I was filled with shame. How could I feel this way? I shouldn’t feel this way. What is wrong with me? I wanted to be a mom! I didn’t tell anyone I was an impostor, a phony. I took Annie out for walks, captured her milestones with my camera, met with friends and their babies. And I wondered if I could cast off the impostor and feel like a real mom.

As she grew older I grew with her. I loved seeing her face light up when she saw me, how her cheeks smushed her lips together as she fell asleep in my arms, hearing her giggle and believing it was the sweetest sound I’d ever heard. I discovered that while I was confused about whom I had become and I wasn’t in love with motherhood, I loved being Annie’s mom and, two years later, Benjamin’s mom.

I look at their faces around the table so eager to tell their tales and I know this is one of the best things I’ll ever do, ever be. Listening, making mistakes, loving them; I’m figuring out parenting as we go along. When it is my turn for Best Parts/Worst Parts I often say, “This is my best part. Right here. With you guys.” And it’s the truth.


{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Lance April 19, 2012 at 10:25 am

Two of my favorite people in one place. Thanks for showing us your best feature, Heidi, your heart. You love for your family is terrific.
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Naked Girl in a Dress April 19, 2012 at 10:35 am

She is lovely, isn’t she Lance?

Thanks for the kind words.

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heidi April 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Oh, that means a lot to me! Thank you, Lance.
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Robbie April 19, 2012 at 10:29 am

So well said. While I loved being a mom I wasn’t quite prepared for how I FLET about being a mom at times.
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Naked Girl in a Dress April 19, 2012 at 10:35 am

Being a mom evokes so many emotions, sometimes all in one day. It’s the best though.

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heidi April 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm

When I first became ‘mom’ I had a hard time identifying what was going on with me, so I didn’t talk about it with anyone. Not until much, much later. I was a little nervous to give voice to it today, but I’m glad I did. Thank you for saying this….it’s good for us moms to band together. :)
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Kerstin April 19, 2012 at 10:35 am

Aw, Heidi – what an honest and inspiring post! You put into words those feelings I had/have myself and never knew how to express them.
Also, dinner conversations are a tradition at our house as well and they actually are the best part of my day (especially if we get to laugh at my husband;))
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heidi April 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall at your house listening to those conversations! Thanks goodness for Twitter. And thank goodness for you, Kerstin.
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heidi April 19, 2012 at 11:50 am

Kelly, thank you so much for having me. I am just so honored. Truly.
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Naked Girl in a Dress April 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I am just so happy you agreed! You are a wonderful writer and I am thrilled for the opportunity to share you with readers here.

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Jeff D'Antonio April 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm

The most terrifying day of my life was the day my first daughter was born. I had no idea what this whole parenting thing was about, and I was absolutely convinced I was going to screw it up. I read every parenting book in the universe, hoping one of them would tell me the secret formula for being a good parent. And then one day I realized that all those books could be summarized in just two words: love her. That’s all you have to do. Just love your children, and everything else falls into place. So that’s what I did. So far it’s working out pretty well as a parenting strategy, I think.

We do the dinner table thing too. It’s a wonderful way to connect with your kids and get them talking about what goes on during their day.
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Naked Girl in a Dress April 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm

What a great comment. Thanks for visiting Jeff!

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heidi April 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I agree with Kelly. What a great comment! We can’t screw it up if we love them. You put this perfectly. Thank you, Jeff.
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Corey Feldman April 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Very moving.
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heidi April 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Corey, nice to meet you! Thank you so much.
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Galit Breen April 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Oh this is running (and relatable), you two.

We have the same tradition, for the same reasons, and my answer is often similar to yours.

(This doesn’t surprise me in the least.)
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heidi April 19, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Galit, it’s a great way to prevent silence, isn’t it? And more than that, it’s this time for listening without judgment. Every person gets their say, their part. Didn’t you call it VeryOwn? They get their veryown. :)
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Christie April 19, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Awww, I just got tears in my eyes. Your post struck such a chord. I felt many similar feelings after the birth of my first son. I wanted to go back to the time “before,” and I felt a lot of really shameful sad things. Slowly and then more quickly I really grew into it. Wonderful post, as usual.
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heidi April 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I already said this but…it took me such a long time to articulate how I felt. I didn’t expect all the guilt that came with motherhood. I wanted this immediate bond like I had heard about and when it didn’t come I was sure I was broken. Anyway, it looks like you and I had similar experiences. Thank goodness we have time on our side.
Thank you, Christie.
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tara pohlkotte April 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I love me some Heidi, and I should have known we felt similar when our babies were born. I still haven’t had that “this moment changed everything I knew about love” moment with my children. I’ve always been capable of love, and I love them just as I knew I would. I don’t see myself when I see “motherhood”, I see myself on a journey with two incredible souls. So glad our paths have crossed.

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heidi April 19, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Okay, you said this perfectly!! A journey with two incredible souls….yes, this.
Me too. So glad to have crossed paths.
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Julia April 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Oh, how I love the honesty and transparency in this post. I can relate to this so very much. Reading your words is always one of my “best parts”.
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heidi April 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Julia, I’m all teary-eyed over here. Thank you so much. Your honesty and transparency are, without a doubt, one of the very reasons I read your blog.
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Jennifer April 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Heidi, I can so relate to everything you said here. We call ours Rose, Thorn, Bud (best part of the day, hardest part, what we are looking forward to). And I felt the exact same way when my oldest was born. Definitely not my calling, but I’m growing into it more and more. XO
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heidi April 19, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Oh, I love Rose, Thorn and Bud! That is just beautiful and so creative. A big, big hug to you.
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Toriz April 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm

I love this post; it would be my best time too!

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Kate Coveny Hood April 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm

How did I miss this?! I love this Heidi. Especialy the part about having Annie teach you about government. I often think fondly about the future of social studies text books in my house. I don’t remember ANY of it and have high hopes of re-educating myself as I help my kids practice for tests. But anything involving politics would be even better! Maybe if I had an Annie at my dining room table right now, I wouldn’t seem so clueless at cocktail parties.

I also love the title of this blog. Once Listen to Your Mother is over I really have to start reading blogs again…

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