Friday, August 9, 2013

Full

We've had a summer of full.

Five weeks away, two weeks home and countless moments in between.

Moments that have caught us by surprise, taken our breath away, and made us pause.

Full.

Thankful.

All I can think about is how we grow when we're poured into. When love and interest and time mix and fill us up. When we pursue life and chase it and live big.

If we all just poured more and took less, what would our world look like?

I think I'll try it and find out...



Monday, May 6, 2013

Picking up Pieces

She's quiet and unassuming, talented and beautiful, intelligent and sarcastic. She instructs with her actions, movements, words. She leads by example.

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.

She's leaving.

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.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Proud

Us on Friday night in the elevator

"You're so proud of her." 

He said it as a statement, no judgement, a bit of wonder in his voice. Speaking the her in a plural, for both of them.

Another long day, long night, long weekend. He's a man who loves his chicks; he brings a laptop and reading material and sits at desks in hotel rooms instead of at home. He watches ever single routine. This man of ours hugs. He grabs bags of ice and rubs muscles taxed by hours of dancing on concrete in convention ballrooms. He kisses them goodnight and curbs giggling in foreign beds when tired turns to silly and I'm too spent to do more. When the weekend is over, her puts luggage in the car and drives and allows me to shut my eyes as a city disappears behind us.

How it's done...
Dad's attempt during a break at ASH

Never once has he said he wishes they were basketball players, or volleyball or baseball or....

or anything other than who they were made to be

I do the preparation. Packing the food, vitamins, clothing, makeup and shoes. I get them up before the sun rises and form perfect buns that will stay in all day and pin numbers to tops so that they stay put. I sit in ballrooms for endless hours and observe, because they are still small. The Grace Girl is at the age I might leave until lunch, but Little Bit is still a smidge over four feet. Still small. For this season her first in the competitive world I've gone back and forth between their rooms, wearing a band which denotes me as an observer and watched them grow in their passion.

we love them and he loves me

When I'm repacking all of our luggage at midnight so he may simply check-out, tired and cross, I need to remember that most girls are not so loved. Fathers are a rare sight in this world of ours. He is present. I am thankful.

I was taken off-guard by his passing comment last night. I responded defensively. I wanted him to see that my proud was of their hearts, the way she gives glory to her maker and reflects Him...

My proud comes from the same place my tears do. It's the spot I love him from.

Lord, let me show that the proud I have for them carries over tenfold for him. 

how I love them all

After solos and duet at NUVO in Orlando

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Do Over

(sometimes it's best to hold hands and keep on keeping on)


It's Thursday, and the social media sites I frequent all feature various videos and photos with a # and the letters TBT.

Throw back Thursday.

A day to reminisce and recall a previous sweetness. Not a bad concept in a culture always set on moving full throttle toward something new.

Most Thursdays I enjoy looking at old videos of dance routines or of my friends as smallish people.

Not today.

Today I would love for it to be "Do over Thursday."

If I was being honest, I think I'd prefer for it to be "do over" week. That would make it do over month...at that rate let's make it do over year.

I need a do over.

One with more energy and patience and less tears. A day (or week or month) filled with waking up feeling rested and capable and like I'm not failing at something. I'm not whining or down in the dumps, I'm just keeping it real. Raising and homeschooling girls is a challenge. They try to grow up faster than necessary. It's the way the world is and while they are in it, as a mother I work to keep them not of it.

"Not of it..." a sentence on repeat around here as my eldest reaches her thirteenth birthday.

Motherhood is the hardest job I've ever had. It is not one that I can put aside when I run low on time or fuel or peace. I've chosen it, and desire to do it with excellence. It is a gift, pure and simple.

But, sometimes gifts are difficult to recognize. Situations leave you drained and doubting and without fight.

In those moments, remember you are not alone. You can do this. You were created for this. Chosen. You are the perfect Mama for your family. You work in the world's toughest office space and you make it out mostly alive every day.

Some days will be easier than others. For me, this is not one of those days, and I'm okay with that.

Do you want to know why?

Because tomorrow I'll get a "do over"... And if you need one you'll get one too.

Sigh. It doesn't get better than that.

Here's to you, sweet mothers reading this. You are priceless. Incredible. Perfectly created for what lies ahead of you.  (I put this in bold because it's an important truth you need to hold to, to put on repeat when the hours seem endless.)

...perfectly created for what lies ahead...

For the days when the going gets tough? Take a breath and call a do over. I'm here to listen and offer support if you need me...and He is too.

"His mercies are new new every morning; great is your faithfulness." ~ Lamentations 3:23

Friday, February 1, 2013

Dreaming Double

One spot to another, always in flight. These chicks keep me on my toes.

Lately, we've done quite a bit of travel with dance. The professor is busy with work and so the legs he was helping with driving have fallen to me. It means a whole lot more time away from the nest. Today, we left at noon and will arrive home sometime after 9:30 p.m. 

LONG

Long for them and for me. Driving to our distance ballet, taking Little Bit to the library to finish up schooling and then trekking to the other studio for assisting and classes for both of them all night. I sit bundled in my jacket and her scarf, earbuds in and the girls doing jetes in the other room. 

Classes change. My sweet babe moves into her company hour with a sharp jazz routine and the Grace Girl works on changing a solo from pointe to ballet, just in case the pointe component is not ready for another competition in two weeks. I think it will be, but she's not sure...always the perfectionist in her dancing, she's her own harshest critic.

I've moved in to the small studio to listen, a background of soft beats as she and her sweet, sweet teacher adjust slight movements "just in case". Her necklace jingles and proclaims her initial and "beautiful", a gift from me for her eleventh birthday. A reminder of how I see her and how I hope she sees herself. Jingles combine with turns as movement ensues.

How I love her tenacity.

Her grace.

Her determination.

What she has to teach me about dreaming is endless...

It's not only for childhood

Don't do it small

Pursue passion

Go God sized 



.   .   .   .

The group of moms that is waiting to pick the littles up from class is congregated in the waiting room. Bundled under coats and in them and chatting away. I'm thankful for them, for their kindness and warmth and inclusion. The dance world is made up of mothers that are competitive for their children. These women? They are different. They laugh and talk and fill this place. We're invited in to watch the routine for the company level that Little Bit is a part of; for most, this will be their first convention and competition in a few weeks. They all think that every part of dance is fun, and that is how it should be. Grace Girl tapes the piece for review and I simply watch. Motion and smiles and pointed toes all making it spectacular. A lift takes place, and I think about how far ahead she is of where her big sister was at the same age. She does not take for granted the example that lives in the bedroom next to hers, and all of the watching is now paying off in her dancing.



The same qualities that I value in her big sister I embrace in her as well; double dreaming takes place within our walls.

Double and God sized.

I cannot wait to see what the future holds, but for now I'm learning to savor the long days. 

Because lately? Lately, they provided glimpses into the lovely ones ahead of us.


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jer 29:11