Her demeanor is one of discipline and her craft is taught with passion.
As all good teachers are, she can be loved and feared by her students. To them, she's given a good portion of her life and her heart.
It's her second job; she makes it seem like her first priority.
She's a part of our hearts and our family...she spends almost as much time growing the chicks as I do.
It's heart pain in beauty at it's finest.
To us, she's not just a dance teacher. She's a friend and confidant, physical and massage therapist and dream encourager. She's a cheerleader and disciplinarian and a shoulder to lean on. She stretches the chicks physically and emotionally. With her, they take flight.
Our hearts? Broken.
We are beyond excited for the opportunities that await her and cannot wait to see what adventures God has for her as she moves forward. We are so very proud of how very hard she works and all she's accomplished. Simply put, she is amazing.
I watched, in awe, as she picked up the pieces this weekend when my Little Bit was affected by unkind words before her solo went onstage to compete. From the other side of the balcony they drilled on steps and landings and technique. Piece by piece she put her back together. In a way only she could, the nerves were calmed and confidence restored. She took her by the shoulder and wrapped her up and bustled her backstage. Nothing and no one would be allowed to distract her; she made sure of it.
What she doesn't realize is that she's been putting us back together for the last year and a half. We came to her after we lost another piece of our hearts, and she's done a good portion of the mending. She welcomed us in last January and gave the Grace Girl a competition team and home when there was chaos in our dance world. She challenged, pushed, encouraged. Little Bit wasn't yet competitive at that point, but she saw her potential. Encouragement and weekly demonstrations of skill after class grew her as well. The week my Joy Girl grabbed her hand and held it as they walked to the door? I think that sealed the deal.
From the moment she had the Grace Girl do a difficult turn combination in her first tryout, she's helped me put their hearts backs together. She's picked up and pieced alongside me. She's loved, taught, and encouraged them as they've channelled all of the pain into beauty.
So how do I thank the woman who loves my chicks? How do I thank her for offering friendship when I thought I might never get back to a place where it was doable? How do I extend gratitude for love given?
Simply put, we'll let her go. We'll support and hug and encourage in the same ways she has for us. We'll know it's not forever and comfort will be taken in the fact that she's only a few short hours away. Tears will be shed and hugs exchanged, but it's not truly goodbye. It never is for those who take up residence in our hearts. I'm quite sure this extraordinary woman will be at their graduations and weddings and the big performances of their lives. It's who she is.
For all of this and more? Gratitude.
Thank you, my friend, for loving us so well.