Wednesday, November 6, 2013

To My Tiny Dancer...

As I finished wriggling your ballet shoes onto your puffy three year old little girl feet, I asked that same question I've begun asking every week.

"Do you want mama to stay out here, or come watch you dance?"
And just like every other time I asked, you wanted me to watch. Since it's ok with your teacher, I perch of the same table prop thing I always land upon, and watch you plié, passé, and pique your little heart out.

Sometime I feel a little weird walking past all the other moms. They're all great I'm sure, and some hop up and check out their girls every now and again.

Here's the thing... I hope they don't think I'm trying to be the perfect mom, or hover over you. There is just this one thing I want to savor.

Okay, maybe a few more than one.

First there is the absolute obvious.  You are adorable!  You'll only be little for so long, and there may be a day when you prefer your old, socially awkward mama stay in the waiting room. I want to be here how you any me to be, at least this one hour of the week.

The rest of the reasons are more elusive.

To understand the rest of the reasons, you have to understand what life was like when biggest brother was tiny. To be able to appreciate why I sit in dance and savor your every move is to realize why one would appreciate having plenty of food after going hungry.

I'm grateful that you can.

I'm grateful that you run in the room, bubbling over with eagerness to dance with your peers.

I'm grateful that you can handle all the light, sound, color, and business of the room. That you can process it and not even notice.

I'm grateful that you adore your teacher and seek to please her.

I'm grateful that you play with the other girls. Even when you needs to be told to be quiet... which does happen.

I'm grateful for your ability to copy what your teacher does. For the flawless way your brain processes what you see and translates it into moving your limbs accordingly... mostly.

I'm grateful to see you excited about seeing these other girls.

But what is the big deal?  All little girls do these things.  All kids do some form of these things, right? 

Not necessarily.  

It is a different experience to witness these things because I've walked up to the classroom and realized that your brother was is in the corner by himself, and not because he was in trouble.

It's different because I had the teacher walk up to me and say, "I don't know what it is, but he doesn't seem interested in anything."

It's different because brother couldn't look me in the eye or answer to his name or call for me.

It is a special kind of refreshing to watch you be just one of the kids because I've had brother, who doesn't understand basics of social interaction.  

It's different because I've watched brother struggle when he can't handle the lights or the sound or the busyness of the environment, so he hits his ears and screams. 

It's different because, when he was your age and a bit younger, I heard lots of dream-shattering can'ts, likely won'ts, and probably will never's.  

It's different because we've... you included... helped him fight and slog through the fog for understanding and completion of the simplest of tasks and the achievement of the things most take for granted. 

Often I've hoped that I don't come across as rude or impolite for leaving the gaggle of moms in the waiting room to go sit by myself and watch you.  When it comes down to it, I just have to shut it all out.  I wouldn't miss taking you in as you flutter by during fairy walk time, giving me a wink and a thumbs up.  Or being there for you when you busted your lip as you ran back to wait for your next turn, only to have you wriggle down and run back as soon as you weren't bleeding.  And I bet your friends wonder why I'm wiping tears as I beam at you.  Maybe you wonder why, too.  

It's because I know what it's like to see the developmental skills it requires to do something as simple as a fairy walk completely absent in my precious child.  It's because when I see them in you, and I just want to explode with joy, relief, pride, and excitement. And because I never want to forget to be grateful for even the simplest thing.

To watch you brain process it all and not just function but ENJOY functioning is beyond delicious.  It's joyous, and for me, it's putting feet to my thankfulness in a way it's hard to explain. 

Oh, and before I forget... I love to watch you because I love you.

Thanks be to God for the gratitude than can only come from a vacuum. 

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