It’s the dawn of a new millennium. My daughter Skyler is 3. I’m … a lot older than that. And there we were at the kitchen table on a snowy morning mastering the art of Monster Feet. The day before, we had just seen the movie “Monsters Inc.,” so Sky was pretty charged up about my latest arts and crafts idea.

Kym Dakin and daughter Skyler, in the Monster Feet era. Photo courtesy of Kym Dakin

In case you need a new form of toddler entertainment (and you might, it STILL being  quarantine and all), Monster Feet are fun to make: Each foot requires a regular or large (for grown-up feet) Kleenex box, a layer of bubble wrap glued to the bottom (for extra noise) and some felt “toes” attached to the front. These babies are great for stomping around the house and ROARING. Art therapy for everyone!

In recovery from our stomping, roaring and mac-and-cheese lunch, we sprawled on the couch to watch “Clifford the Big Red Dog.” The phone rang.

On the line was my one very large and very lucrative client. We exchanged pleasantries briefly and I got a bad feeling. Sure enough, he had called to inform me that my contract, which had been in place for over 10 years, would not be renewed. Oh. Really. I felt the day tilt sideways and do a face plant on the floor.

The call was concluded with as much grace as I could muster while trying to squelch an expanding balloon of panic in my stomach. I hung up the phone, burst into tears and ran up the stairs.

Here’s what I’ve discovered about that work-life-motherhood-balance thing. You know that eventually something is going to crash no matter what you do, or how in control you might believe you are. I knew I needed more than just this one terrific client, but I kept putting off those marketing efforts because … I had important stuff to do like … making Monster Feet with my kid. I was just hoping and trusting that the worst wouldn’t happen. Well, it just did.

Not to worry! Sky to the rescue! She marched up the stairs after me, my Monster Feet firmly in hand, and demanded that I put them on Quick! Right NOW! Her little face so serious, so determined, so believing in the power of those feet to stomp out whatever was making Mama cry. So that’s what we did. It wasn’t like I had any better ideas. We STOMPED and we ROARED and we got through that afternoon together.

I eventually flushed some new clients out of the bushes. Sky is in college now. But every once in a while, particularly during this past election season (!), I’ve been very tempted to round up a few Kleenex boxes and start stomping … !

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