Professional Plate Spinning

I am a professional plate spinner. It is my claim to fame. At the end of my life, when my family and friends gather around to say their last goodbyes, I want them to say, “She was a multitasker extraordinaire.” They might add, “nerves of steel”, and “boy, she had real world shocks that would take her through the bumpiest of rides.”

There are a lot of things that I hope that people say at my funeral. I wonder if I am the only one that thinks about that day. I do realize that I won’t be around to hear it, but in the end, I hope that I have left some sort of mark. I hope that my life wasn’t just a blip in people’s radar, and that I will be talked about for even a little while. I wouldn’t even mind stories told at my expense, if they brought a chuckle, or better yet, a good belly laugh.

I am a planner, but I have learned to go with the flow. My Real World GPS is top-notch. I’m not saying that it’s easy, and that close friends and family don’t have to talk me off the ledge every once in a while, but overall, I am proud of ME. I haven’t always been flexible. I haven’t always been able to wait. I haven’t always been able to walk away from something I really wanted, even for the good of the people I love most.

A very good friend of mine said to me, “Cindy, not all people are caregivers,” and that honestly surprised me. I thought all women automatically, by sheer make-up, were caregivers. I think it was engrained in me, from infancy, that we were expected to be caregivers. My grandmother housed family members through sickness and death, as did my aunt’s. We lived on a farm, and we cared for animals in the same way. We still miss a day of work when we lose a beloved pet. So it shouldn’t surprise me that I love and care for my loved ones so deeply, so thoroughly, and so faithfully.

Lately, my heart has been heavy for coworkers and friends who are also plate spinners. The featured image shows smiling, but I think a more accurate representation would be a strained grimace. It isn’t easy, and as a fellow spinner, I totally get it. I have been praying a little harder and a little longer for those who are struggling to keep their plates from smashing. Most of us “put on the face” and just do what needs to be done. Sometimes it is difficult to know how close  are to a plate catastrophe.

I hit that point last Spring. It was a scary place for me. Summer Vacation couldn’t come quick enough. I was even scaring myself. I was losing it. I had good reason, but somehow that didn’t help a whole lot. I had no choice but to keep spinning. Nobody could take the plates from me, they were plates that I was called to spin. Somehow, by the grace of God, none broke. Like Moses, I needed friends and family to help hold my heavy arms.

Exodus 17:12
But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set.

Thank God for those who noticed and helped. I will be forever grateful.

My father always said that if we made it through the deep dark valley’s, be sure to have learned the valuable lessons we were indented to learn. Otherwise, the experience was just a waste. Lord knows that I don’t want to go through painful challenging experiences again because I didn’t “get it” the first time.

Mostly, I’ve learned to no be so uptight. I am a perfectionist by nature. My ideal job would be a professional labeler. I would love to tidy up spaces and label where all should be returned after use. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? I could work by myself, listening to some of my favorite tunes, fiddle at my own pace, and have a finished product that I could be proud of and helpful to others.

As a professional plate spinner, I don’t feel like I do an outstanding job at anything. That has been hard to accept. My Type A personality wants to be highly qualified and exceptional in all aspects of life, and I cannot be. I’m not going to lie, that is still tough to swallow. However, I have to remind myself daily that if I’m going to keep all plates spinning, I have to give all the plates equal time and energy. When one plate gets more attention than the other plates, one drops.

I have to be honest, my physical and spiritual plates are spinning slowly. I need to ramp them up. I am struggling with the friend plate as well. I realize that some plates need more attention than others, but I miss friend interaction. This is a tough time of year. It is cold, the heat is on full blast, we are tired of being cooped up, and we need sunshine in the worst way. I look forward to Spring, and warm weather, and being outside, and sunshine. Did I say sunshine?

We are at a quiet place with the husband plate. His blood pressure has finally stabilized  for the moment. He is walking much better AND picking up his foot to clear the floor! He still wears a brace because he cannot move his right lower leg, ankle, or foot as a result of the stroke last April. However, he isn’t using the walker or the wheelchair in the house or on short trips any more. He got a greenhouse for Christmas and is anxiously waiting to start plants in the basement. He has refinished a dresser and is now working on sanding down the kitchen table, which keeps him out of mischief most of the time. He still cleans the house, bakes, does the laundry, takes care of the dog, fills the stove with pellets, and enjoys watching political commentaries on the iPad. At this time, we are not concentrating on abilities he has lost. We are celebrating what he still can do, while counting down the days until he can get back outside.

I couldn’t be a professional plate spinner without my Maker. It is by His strength that I can get up each morning and head to school. It is comforting to know that He is watching over my husband when I can’t, that He is putting his protective arms around my children and grandchildren, and that He will provide for my needs no matter what. I stand by His promise that “all things work for good, for those called according to His purpose”, and I know that in the end, I will be okay. All will be well with my soul and that’s how I face the future.

So to all those Professional Plate Spinners out there in Cyberland, I want you to know that you are not alone. Somehow that brings me comfort, so I suspect it will you as well. The best advice I can give you is to just keep trying. Every day is a new day where we can try again. Keep searching for JOY and may your plates never hit the floor.




  1. This may be an inconsquential label to some, but I promoted myself to care partner manager a while ago. Yes, my husband has Parkinson’s with Lewy Body Dementia, but my husband pointed out everytime the “caregiver” term was used, it represented pity , it felt punitive and denoted helplessness. The evolution was important on many levels. I am not the boss of him. My new title comes with higher expectations. on an emotional and spiritual level. We are husband and wife and have been for 17 years. We respect our respective roles and rely on being organized. I continue to work because it feeds my sense of responsibility, my self-worth and my need to be a life learner. I am a list maker. I try to stay organized with ordering meds, filling pill trays, simplyfying food preparation. Yes there are bumps, but I am finding calm.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s