This is the sixth installment of our reality series about Megan Dancisak, 27, and her son Ethan. She has the pleasure of raising him, and the hardship of doing so as a single mom. Read the first chapter of Dancisak’s story to find out how she chose life for her son when she had no idea how she could afford to raise him.
When an acquaintance from church asked Megan Dancisak to videochat for a blog post, Dancisak agreed, plopping down in front of her laptop in her T-Mobile uniform last weekend with her 2-year-old son Ethan cheesing into the built-in camera.
But rather than an interview, Heather Richardson of Movie Momma surprised Dancisak with a video of close friends explaining what makes Dancisak a great mother, edited together with clips of Ethan as a newborn, taking his first steps, and splashing in the bathtub. On screen, Dancisak teared up in surprise at the early Mother’s Day gift.
“It really felt like it was heaven sent,” Dancisak said. “It meant more to me than I even think she understood, and to have my most favorite friends who have been there since day one encourage me and tell me I’m doing a good job … it was really awesome.”
The surprises continued when Richardson posted the video of Dancisak’s reaction on her website, then submitted it to GodTube and Godvine, where the video has garnered slightly more than 100,000 views. It’s taken Dancisak off-guard, but she’s excited that “there’s that much exposure and that many more opportunities for sharing the gospel.” Laughing, she said if she knew the video would go viral, she would have put on make-up and changed into nicer clothes.
Watching the video made Dancisak miss the days when Ethan fit snug in the crook of her arm, but she can’t help but love this new stage, she said, as the 2-year-old ball of energy ran tight circles in the living room. She’s discovered Ethan is artistic and musical, concentrating hard on his crayon coloring and banging on drums—or tabletops and overturned buckets—in rhythm. He holds up his wooden animals and calls out “cow,” “tiger,” and “raffe,” for giraffe. When his mom tells him to go to bed or get ready for bath time, he understands—although whether he obeys is a different story.
“It’s really fun to learn about him, he’s talking so much more,” Dancisak said. “I love to see the joy on his face, his kid-like wonder … everything is so fun and new.” On Easter weekend, Dancisak hid Easter eggs around the apartment, and Ethan scampered around looking for hidden treasures. The next morning, he woke up, ran out to the kitchen, and peered around the refrigerator asking, “Easter egg?” He was eager for round two.
It’s been a time of change for both mother and son, as T-Mobile transferred Dancisak to a new store and Ethan started a new daycare. A few weeks ago, Dancisak was approved for subsidized daycare, saving her $120 a week, but initially Ethan was less than thrilled. He cried every morning when Dancisak dropped him off, causing his mother to wipe away tears of her own. But Ethan soon adjusted, playing trains with his new friends and bringing home crayon-splayed crafts. At the same time, Dancisak is adjusting to a new boss and clientele that requires longer work hours. She’s also joined a new community group led by young parents, so Ethan can come with her.
But as life gets busy, Dancisak fights the urge to rush Ethan, especially when his growing independence makes everyday tasks more and more time-consuming. She reminds herself that he’s still in the learning process and her impatience could rob both “him and me from what God could be teaching us.” It’s one way that the young mom is learning from the mistakes of her own childhood: Growing up she always felt pressure to perform better to win her mother’s affirmation, so she reminds herself to let Ethan act his age and to love him through it.
At the same time, God has been teaching her patience in other aspects of her life as well. Rather than impulsively jumping into the first housing option, job opportunity, or man that comes her way, she’s learning to stop, think, and trust God. For instance, Dancisak has been looking for a cheaper apartment when her lease is up this summer, and a friend from her mom’s group introduced her to a woman renting out a back studio. At first, she fell in love with the idea—a backyard for Ethan, close proximity to the daycare and friends—and was ready to sign on the dotted line. But as the days went by, she started really thinking about whether the studio would be the best fit for them—the open floor plan would make it difficult for her to have friends over after Ethan went to bed. She wouldn't have had any personal space, and she’d have had to get rid of the her furniture, since the room is fully furnished. In the end, she decided to keep looking for a better option and wait for God’s best.
“I feel like I’m learning through my faults rather than my strengths, which is horrifying,” Dancisak said. “I’ve always prided myself in being an independent, strong-willed woman, but I’ve never been weaker.” That’s forced her to increase her dependence on God, as friends move on and move away, as Ethan grows up and has the ability to reject her, as her life moves into uncharted terrain.
And as Dancisak has entrusted her small family to God, she’s watched Him use their story to inspire tens of thousand of people she’s never even met through the video her friends made: “Whatever God has planned, ultimately it’s not about me. I’m very humbled that God did that.”