This was one heck of a busy weekend…remember how I ducked out of writing last week and just threw in the towel (read: keyboard)? Well, I’m happy to say that we lived to tell the tale and made it through the last super-hectic weekend of the school year. Can you hear me?….Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Take that “ah” and stretch it for about 5 miles and then you get the idea of the sigh of relief.
The weekend was filled with good things and I had the privilege to witness some true girl power in action, in a variety of forms.
The first event: My younger daughter’s dance recital. A big 2+ hour to-do with a whole bevy of dancers. 44 acts in all (yes, you heard that correctly…44) and, of course, my daughter’s 3-minute dance was number 31. When I first got wind of this roster, I seriously thought I might cry. Yes, I love seeing all the dancers, hearing the music, but let’s be honest here…I was going for my kid and those were the best 3 minutes of the show. Let’s all just fess up to the same sentiment, please. We cheer them ALL on, but our child reigns supreme. There-the cat is out of the dance bag.
Saturday afternoon came and our family and grandparents all tromped down to City Hall, site of the big show. It really was a great show, I have to say, and not painful as the prior sentences would infer. And I say this from the perspective of having seen the show twice….Friday night was a full dress rehearsal (see, one more thing the baby books never mention). The kids all did a wonderful job and the variety of dances and music was truly impressive and interesting to watch. 3-minute dances move along at a decent pace and there’s no real opportunity to fall asleep. It’s like changing radio stations at every light on a major road in town-you never get bored. I’m happy to report that my daughter did a great job (of course, lol!) and enjoyed herself immensely. She’s starting to look rather mature up there on stage and it’s a miraculous thing to witness. I’m so happy that she has found something that she loves to do with all her heart.
I also found one other little girl in the show interesting to watch, too. Whenever she came on stage (she was in about three numbers), my heart just broke a little for her out of sheer cuteness. She was probably about 8 or so years old. A little chubby and a little slower-moving that the other dancers. At times (many) she was out of step or two steps behind, and she also glanced off-stage often to follow the prompting of the teachers who stood behind the curtains. She danced in a way that seemed like she had her feet on the both the gas pedal and the brake….slow at times and hesitantly and then, without warning, she gunned it (“I don’t remember this part…or that part so much….but I remember…THIS part!”). Even in her timidness, though, you could tell she was enjoying being up there. There was no fear; you were just watching someone move through something at their own pace. Every so often, she’d glance out into the audience and make eye -contact with her family and a giant smile would result. She wasn’t the best dancer out there, for sure, but she was doing something with all of her little might and enjoying it thoroughly. Grace may not have been her middle name, but Tenacity could have been.
Immediately following this recital, our family immediately changed into dressier clothes (we were the family equivalent of Clark Kent, jumping into our phone booth for a quick-change), drove across state lines and attended a Bat Mitzvah of a dear family friend. This was a wonderful bit of girl power to witness as well. We have known this child since she was born and to see her, in front of her religious community, with such grace and new-found knowledge of her traditions was awesome. Like those films that speed up a flower’s growth (10 seconds from seed to flower), we saw a young girl bloom before our very eyes. Smiles abounded and this tween was given the nudge and began a lifelong journey.
It’s particularly sweet when you have watched someone their whole life and then you see them at one of these transitional moments. We’ve seen her quiet moments, her shy days, heard her squeaky little toddler voice and now…whoa! There’s a bright, happy young woman up there in front of everyone, speaking in a whole other language with ease and confidence.
Again, truly wonderful and inspiring.
And finally, I sat in on my daughters’ aikido class on Sunday and watched them and other (children) members of the dojo be tested for a range of belt levels. One little girl, again, caught my eye because I have witnessed a transformation in her over the past few months that she has been training. She’s a quieter soul and very sweet who was very timid at first and very concerned with doing things “the right way” and not making mistakes. During yesterday’s test, though, you could see the love of the activity shining through and a look of “hey, I’m getting this!”. The concentration to do the movements with the correct form is still there, but I noticed a more relaxed version of this girl coming to the forefront. At times, a smile of pure joy shone as she pinned her partner to the ground. A look of accomplishment crept across her face…the timidness is receding and something more powerful is taking over.
So many times, we just notice the flower once it has bloomed, but don’t necessarily stop to notice of the stages of growth along the way. Those stages, however, can be the most magical times of the bloom.