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First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Dance Recital!

Saturday, May 31st, 2008 at 7pm Ria's first dance recital was scheduled to begin. However, we arrived by 6:15pm to finalize preparations for the recital. For instance, her constume was a little bit too poofy to wear in her car seat and we couldn't put her lipstick on at home because Kat would chase her trying to get at those colored lips! So, she got dressed and I applied her BRIGHT red lipliner and lipstick. Then I had to bring her to the room in which she would wait until her performance time. Each group was assigned a helper or helpers. Ria's helper was Lori and her young son, Sam.

A friend of mine (who I met only BECAUSE I wore Kathryn in a sling), Delynne, has one of the only two young boys in the dance program at our Dance school. Both boys were assigned to the room Ria was in because it made dealing with their gender easier (except that every time a girl had to change, the boys had to go out of the room). I don't look forward to such issues with our sons... but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Anyway, I wasn't able to drop Ria off as I thought I would because my friend was anxious about how her son would cope with being among children he didn't know. He DID know Ria, so she asked if her son could hang out with Ria. Of course I was totally okay with that, but I knew I should make sure things would be cool with the helpers because they are all very concientious and I didn't want them to worry about the situation. So, that took some time.

Finally, it looked like I could leave. Ria was completely and totally okay with me leaving her. Why wouldn't she be?! She knows I always come back. :)

So, I go out to find my Dad and Jess waiting in the hall... impatiently? Oops.

We make our way to the front of the auditorium and wait to enter. The first thing I did upon entering was head to what looked like the DVD order forms. I was SO glad they were there because I thought, based on what we were told, that we had to order them the day before. So, I purchased 2. We are keeping one because I want Ria to be able to see herself on stage, but more importantly, I want her to see and get excited about what the future holds for her in dance! I expect that this DVD will be much loved! If you remember how she determined she would be a ballerina, you'd probably agree with me. My Dad is taking the other one back to VA for those interested to view. ^_^

After ordering the movie, I picked up the rose I'd purchased for Ria. The only reason I was able to get it is because I'd budgeted $15 for tights and they'd ended up at just under $10 via the internet (including shipping!). So, I had an "extra" $5 and decided I really wanted to do the rose for Ria. I was hoping it would be special to her.

Then I went into the seating area and found Jess with Kat and my Dad. Kat was not happy to sit while the lights were on and nothing was happening, so Jess and I made a plan for him to take care of her initially and then I would take her during Ria's performance so he could sit and watch it. So, he got up and took Kat to the back.

The performances started a little late. Ria's group was the 9th to go. There were some really great groups and I was lucky in that I got to see how the first 8 groups did just the night before compared to their final performance. Kat actually REALLY enjoyed the actual dances. She was quite attentive and quiet for them and ESPECIALLY when the big girls were dancing (not on pointe). It was really wonderful! Ria's turn approached and I started to feel all jumpy in my chest and as if I was bubbling with excitement and some nervousness. I'm sure I felt MUCH more of all that than Ria. She was THE consumate performer!

Our group received THE most exclamations of "Ohh" and "Ahhh" of any of the young ones. I had intended to watch Ria and also note the performance of the other girls in her class, but once her song started, "Baby Ballerinas," I couldn't look away from my girl! And the thing that caught me by surprise... perhaps even shocked me... was the overwhelming feelings of pleasure and joy in her efforts... AND the tears that poured down my cheeks! I was so pleased and impressed with how comfortable she was up there and with how HARD she was trying to do everything just right. She REALLY did her VERY best! And the contrast from the previous afternoon was dramatic. Last night, at her recital she kept checking for guidance from her teacher (who was hidden in the wings) when she wasn't able to quite remember what to do next. She pointed her toes just right (turned OUT) and I think she even smiled a little bit! There was only 1 pause in her performance when she couldn't remember what to do and couldn't see her teacher (and hadn't moved back to be able to watch her). But the rest of the time she was RIGHT ON! She even acted as a leader, at one point, in trying to get the girls on her end (since she was THE farthest to the left of the stage she could have been) to do what they were supposed to do. I just loved EVERY bit of it!!! One of the sweetest parts was the very end. All of the girls were supposed to raise their arms and tippy-toe off stage (toward Ria's side) at the end. Ria and two other little girls just stood motionless as the applause began and as their peers tippy-toed off the stage. I don't know if the other two girls were frozen in fear... but that's NOT why Ria remained motionless.

As she stood there, transfixed by the cheers, Ria had THE biggest most beautific smile on her face. She was just SURE that every one of those claps and cheers was just for her. And she was soaking it up and basking in the adoration. That's why MY Ria was motionless as we clapped!

We had to pick up our children during Intermission. I was happy to be able/allowed to go get her. It's not completely comfortable for me to be always with my children, but it's even more UNcomfortable for me to be away from them, especially when I don't know their caretakers very well.

I brought Ria the rose I'd picked: purple. She is very clear on her very favorite colors: pink and purple. (Orange used to be one of them, but she's recently lost interest in it. Don't know why.)

When I arrived in her room she popped up immediately when she saw me and her eyes were immediately glued to the rose. She didn't really greet me, she just wanted to know if that flower was for HER!?? So, I bent down and spoke to her for a moment about my pleasure in her and her efforts during the recital and then presented the rose to her. She was happy with the praise, but I'm certain, based on her pleasure with it, that the rose meant a LOT more to her! I think she may be a physical affection and gifts Love Language kid.

She just kept admiring her purple rose. She looked at it, smelled it, and said funny adorable things like, "Oh, is this beautiful flower for ME?" and "Oh Mama, this is THE sweetest flower! Thank you so much for getting it for me!!!" and "I'm so happy to have this purple rose. It's perfect." These are not things she said once, she said them over and over with slight variations for at LEAST 15 minutes after she received it!!!

I realized that one of Ria's classmates, a little girl named Roxanna, was becoming upset in a very tearful way. Ria was ready to leave, but I asked her to wait so I could help her friend. So, I picked Rozanna up and held her and promised her that her Mama was coming. She was just sure that her Mama had forgotten her. She was scared and crying. Her Mom came and even had a BOUQUET of flowers for her. (I was actually really worried that Ria would notice that other little girls received multiple flowers and be sad that she got just one, but she didn't care a BIT what other girls got! She was just tickled "purple" about her purple rose!) Roxanna was mostly calm by the time her Mom arrived, but with the flowers her Mom gaver her completed her 180.

I think Roxanna was very touched by the way I treated her because she stayed near us until we actually had to leave to go to our van. It's important to mention that Roxanna speaks quite understandable English when she's not upset, but her Mama isn't confident in spoken English and only understands when one speaks slowly for her and tries different approaches/words to communicate. So, I can only imagine that Roxanna might have thought that her Mama didn't understand what was supposed to happen!

Ria was just a gem in accepting her verbal accolades from her Daddy and Papa! She was so pleased and happy and talked to them quite a bit about her flower. And when we put her to bed LATE that night she smiled beautifically once again for Mama and Daddy, in turn, when we complimented her accomplishment in our own way. Daddy: "You are a REAL ballerina now! You did such a good job tonight and I'm SO proud of you!" Mama: "You are my very own ballerina. I'm so pleased! Thank you so much for doing your very best!!"

After this experience I had a little quiet time to ponder my thoughts and feelings of the night as I drove home from Wal-Mart. The Holy Ghost whispered some ideas to me and a wonderful bright understanding came into my heart... like a personal testimony about something I've known to be true, but not FELT for myself. It is this: The joy and pleasure I felt in my daughter, knowing that she was really trying her very best - even if it was NOT perfect, is only a fraction of the pleasure, satisfaction, and rejoicing that Father and His Heavenly Hosts feel in US when He and They can discern that we are truly doing our very best - however imperfect it may be in reality!!!!

This is not a tremendous epiphany in the truest sense: that some knowledge coalesced from little/nothing because I'd totally KNOWN this fact for a long while. And, although I was not able to listen to it myself, I did hear, second-hand, about one of the main subjects Thomas S. Monson delivered around the time of President Hinkley's death (perhaps AT his service?): "Just do your best. That's all Father expects of ANY of us!" I've known it in my head. But what a blessing and JOY it is to my heart and soul to have this new experience of KNOWING and FEELING it in my heart and soul as a result of feeling it (to a mortal's ability to do so) for my own daughter!!!

Man, Motherhood is SUCH a gift!!! I know I would not be anywhere near as good a person as I am becoming if I didn't have the opportunity/challenges of Motherhood in my life!!!! I'm so very grateful for all of it! Children really are THE greatest gift Father could lend us!!!!! ^_^

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