Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Letting Go

As I mentioned in my previous post, there were a couple of pivotal mothering moments attached to the dance recital for me. Allow me to elaborate.

When planning for the recital, I knew that I would have to leave Sophia backstage with her class while I waited in the audience. However, what I envisioned was walking her into the backstage area and putting her little hand directly into the hand of someone I knew, either her teacher or a parent helper. What happened was that I walked around the side of Jesse Hall to the "Performer's Entrance" and handed her through the door to a couple of young teen helpers who assured Sophia and me "I'll take her to her group" as I shouted after them, "Sophia Creach!" since they hadn't asked her name. I guess her costume was enough to tip them off. So I walked away alone. Around the building and into the "Public Entrance." Teary. Wondering to myself if she was old enough. If I had somehow pressured her into doing this. If those girls were responsible. If she was the first one there. Just wondering.

Then we sat waiting inside the theatre. That's when her teacher came out and I had a funny gut feeling that Sophia was having trouble. If I had seen a trickle of smoke from under the curtain, I would have known without a doubt that it was my little burn victim. As it was, I let them look for me while I lived in a moment of denial. That's when I faced the bigger mothering conundrum. I could have gone backstage right then. Comforted her and held her. She would have felt better. I would have felt better. Useful, even. As it was, I told Hallie that it was best if I didn't go back there, as long as Hallie could comfort her. I told Hallie that if I went back there, Sophia wouldn't dance. I'm still sure that's the case, but it was hard to admit. A very bitter pill. As I went to sit down, it took everything I had not to sprint the other direction. Then came more wondering. Was I being a selfish dancer's mom? Making her do something while she was afraid? Would they really tell me if she couldn't calm down? Did I just hear a whimper from backstage? Is that someone coming for me? Does she feel safe?

I feel like I've said this with every post I've ever done on parenting, but here it comes again. Sophia is a unique child, just as I'm a unique mother. So I don't think my decision was universally the right one. For her and for me? The right one. We both needed to do this on our own. She's only three, but she is strong and independent. If she can feel that at this early, early, early (sorry, my feelings there) stage, then she will only grow in confidence and strength in her own power. I know that she's confident in my power and in my love for her. I think if that's what she needed to feel, I would have gone to her. Afterwards, she never questioned why I didn't come. She only talked about the things Miss Hallie had told her about the smoke. And that she felt better. I love that she was able to be comforted by someone else in that moment. I love it as much as I hate it.

My mother arms got their moment a few songs later when she was sitting in the audience after her dance. The smoke machine came on. I saw her begin to panic and made my way closer. Then she ran to me and I got to squeeze her as tightly and comfort her as much as I wanted. It felt good.

We both reached a milestone that night.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

All in a Day

Saturday was a great day in a great weekend. The weather is hot. The sun is out. The mud is ideally "goopy." I noticed the irony in the fact that on the morning of Sophia's debut as a ballerina, she was covered head to toe in mud. She's probably not the only dancer who starts the day with a skin treatment, but I bet she enjoys it the most!


That was followed up by a swim with Aaron and William.


Then a good nap and off to the dance recital!

Here's how that went down: I will possibly post later about the trauma of leaving my tiny girl at the back door of Jesse Hall, but for this, let's just say I dropped her off and went inside. Once inside for a while, I saw her teacher come out from backstage and mouth to a parent helper ".... freaking out." I knew immediately that would be Sophia. None of the other kids are freakers. Cryers or crazies, perhaps, but not freakers. That's Sophia.

Sure enough, they had tested the smoke machine back there. Have I mentioned before that Sophia has what has played out as a full fledged phobia of smoke and sizzling - the symptoms of fire? Since she burnt her hand and had the accompanying surgery, she has been deathly afraid. So, when they turned on the smoke back there, she "freaked." Hallie came out to ask me whether or not I should go back to calm her down. I said, obviously I don't want her freaking out, but if I go back there, we're done. So Hallie took care of it, and I never knew for sure how it would turn out. I may blog more about that another time too.

Anyway, the first we saw of her, she was being led onto stage with the other 3- to 5-year-olds in her class. Still teary, she looked at Miss Hallie and gave her a quick thumbs up. My heart shattered into a million pieces. I haven't yet determined if the breakage was a happy or sad one. I'll analyze that another day. Regardless, Sophia completed the dance with gusto. She actually looked the right direction more than a couple times. She still seemed to want to have a conversation with the girl next to her at the one turn, but all in all, a great showing.

The grandparents were kind enough to take the gamble that she would perform.


And now we have the summer to recuperate. I have the summer to keep her all to myself. And I plan on it.


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Friday, May 21, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect

Last night, Sophia had rehearsal for her Saturday dance recital. Again, I haven't been sure about her participation, but I keep my doubts to myself and that seems to be working. Practice didn't exactly make perfect, but it made for some great footage. I think Sophia gets her directional challenge issues from me, but fortunately it balances out with her shear determination which is etched on her cute little face.

After the recital, she was on an adrenaline high for a bit, but she still needed Lulu...

She danced all the way to the van.

The recital is on Saturday night, so I'll report when I can as to how she fares. It's all just icing on the cake now!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Who's got two thumbs and makes my day?


This guy!!

It's not our anniversary, Erick's birthday or anything, yet I find myself sitting here just thinking how grateful I am for him - and for us.

I remember one conversation we had as teenagers, looking out over a vast and promising future. The item of concern for the moment (I don't remember which of us said it, but we both agreed), "I'm worried that we'll run out of things to talk about." I love to talk. Erick loves to listen, and occasionally the roles are reversed. But we were worried that spending a lifetime together might eventually lead to a shortage in conversation. What if we got bored!

It hasn't happened yet, although there's still time!

Conversely, I think back on that conversation and wonder what we talked about then! We were just filling an empty tablet in our minds with plans, thoughts, goals. We thought we knew one another inside and out. It's true that we had opened (and closed, as far as we knew) almost each and every topic at our disposal. My, how things change.

I am just grateful that Erick has decided I still have interesting things to say. Just as important, I'm glad he still shares with me his thoughts, emotions, moods and sillies.

The other funny thing about all that is that after thirteenish years of living out our future, the way ahead seems infinitely more vast and promising than we knew.
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Friday, May 14, 2010

Lucky for me...

...I don't mind talking to strangers.

Sophia and I buzzed around town this morning. Went to some garage sales, Macy's, the grocery store, downtown. We were busy girls. I set out a t-shirt and shorts for her to wear on our outing. The shirt was acceptable, but the rest of her outfit apparently needed some tweaking.

Being this kid's mom would be an introvert's nightmare. on Twitpic
(I took this on my phone. Click to see larger)

As we went here and there, Sophia got a few, "Love the hat!"s and more than a handful of chuckles and references to the diva, princess or "star." At one point in Macy's, the guy who was helping us out raved about her style then asked, "Did you pick out your outfit this morning?" Sophia didn't answer. **She only looked over her sunglasses and lifted her hat with her index finger. She made eye contact with him with eyebrows raised, and she let her hat back down.** He and I were speechless. I actually blushed. Finally, I shrugged as he laughed and said, "She doesn't get that from you?" Nope. In that moment, she surpassed any need for my involvement in her conversations with the public.

That brings me to my point. As we walked around and garnered attention from the young, old and in between, I thought about how stressed I would be if I were in introvert. I enjoy talking with lots of people, and Sophia does too. She's always quick with a "Thanks!" when someone compliments her style, so at least I don't have to intervene. Still, enough people want to connect with the spectacle's mother that it's a good thing I don't mind talking with strangers.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Many Hats; One Head

For the weeks following Easter, Sophia nearly wore that dress out. She put it on almost every day, whether she was planning to be home, at the park, in the dirt, no matter. I decided to let that happen with the hope that she would get over it. She has, for the most part, gotten over that.

The current phase is - accessorizing - bracelets, necklaces, makeup, heels and hats. Lots of hats.

This hat has seen better days, but she pulled it out one day in order to be a farmer. The rubber boots behind her in this picture had been on her most of the day. Then she decided they weren't fancy enough. So she became a farmer in heels...


Today, Sophia decided she wanted to look like me, so she started with my hat. It's a hat from a winery that we visited on our first trip to California. I fully recognize the irony in allowing my preschooler to support a vineyard. But I just view it as supporting agriculture.

Maybe I do that when I fix my hair, too, I'm not sure.


While we were at the gym this morning, my friend Michelle returned Sophia's crown, which had been left at their house in a moment of dreadful oversight. It was immediately set in its rightful place. (Notice the necklace? It's mine too...)

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New and Improved

A very long time ago, we had Mediacom service for our internet. It was terrible and unreliable. We got rid of it and while we decided on a replacement, we used our neighbor's wifi... Like I said, that was a long time ago. It's been a frustrating (and free) journey, and we've finally made a decision. Well, I guess we had already made the decision to use free internet. But this time, we decided which internet to get of our own! Socket. Local. Fast. Sweet.

Now we'll see if this makes a difference in the blog. I really suspect that when my frustration level lowers with my computer, my productivity will see a brief bump. So consider this your warning.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

More Goodbyes

This morning, Brian, Janelle, Blake and Madilyn got on the road for Seattle. They are headed off to start a brand new adventure as a family, and I imagine they'll have some pretty big personal adventures, too. I am so excited for them to make this huge step towards a very long awaited goal. Of course there is no denying that our family is greatly going to miss theirs.


I won't attempt to share how much they've meant to us in the relatively short time we were part of each others lives, but we did make some pretty cool memories. I'm also really excited to make some new ones on our trips to Seattle.


Anyway, I'm clearly feeling sentimental. Life is an interesting series of comings and goings. No matter how far away the Chandlers get from our city, they will always be an essential part of our community...
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