I Hope You Dance—Reflections on Halloween 2012

For some reason this past October brought back a lot memories from a very different Halloween 11 years ago.

My sister Debbie had just had her 2nd little boy, Jake, and Lisa and I were spending our 3rd week in New Jersey hoping at least one of the embryos St Barnabas’ medical staff had transferred was taking root in Lisa’s womb.

We were in a hopeful place. The searing heart string pain that normally came with an event with so many children that weren’t ours was numbed that night.

Jake had a chicken outfit on, and he seemed incredibly irritated.  Alex I think was three by that time, and his dinosaur outfit had an unfortunate headpiece that he obviously hated to firmly place on his head.

Lisa quietly watched Debbie holding Jake, and I knew she was visualizing herself in a future scene where our child was excitedly pondering how full his or her bag would be at the end of a night of knocking on stranger’s doors and asking for treats.

11 years later, I find myself walking with the parents of our 10 year old daughter’s 4th grade friends.

A few hours before, I was struggling to figure out what to carve for Halloween 2012.

Elliana absolutely loves dance this year.  Her dance teacher was the featured attraction at her birthday overnite party. I love watching how expressive and passionate Elliana is as she hones her skills and practices her technique.

I hope she never loses that passion.

The melody to “I Hope You Dance” floated into my head.

I thought about the look on Lisa’s face from that Halloween 11 years ago, and the 2nd verse of that song started playing:

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance

Never settle for the path of least resistance

Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’

Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’

Don’t let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter

When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider

 Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit out or dance

 I hope you dance


 I glance up at Lisa as she takes pictures of us carving pumpkins and back at Elliana.

They are both dancing—their love for each other so obvious and easy.

We took such a huge chance flying out to New Jersey 11 years ago for a last ditch effort after so many cycles had failed and so many emotional and financial resources had been exhausted.

Following Lisa’s eyes to Elliana reminds me that chance was completely worth taking.

Anyone who has been through more than a year of infertility has likely begun to fear those mountains in the distance.  I wanted to take the path of least resistance on more than one occasion in our six year infertility journey.

After we returned home from that 2001 Halloween we found out that IVF cycle failed. Talk about a Hellbent bitter heart.  I told Lisa we were done.

I was perfectly content to sit out the parent dance.

Lisa refused to live a life where she would look back on their years and wonder, where have those years gone.

She chose instead to live her life in the spirit of the lines in the first verse:

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean

Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens

Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance

Lisa never stopped believing in a life bigger than our disappointment.

Her faith paid off, when the last two frozen embryos from that cycle brought Lisa in to the motherhood dance.  I also got to take my place on the fatherhood dance floor.

That is a life lesson that I have never forgotten.

No matter where you are in the fertility process—keep the faith.

If you get the chance, to sit it out or dance,

I hope you dance.

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