It has been a busy week.
The littles had their last dance and gymnastics classes on Tuesday evening. I will miss the little community we have built the past ten months among ourselves–us dance parents. I will miss catching up on the week and visiting and just being with these good people whom I’ve grown to love as friends. Some I will likely see in August, but some I will not. More goodbyes. Despite the practice, I’m not real good at those.
Thursday evening both of my littles were a part of their gymnastics program. That afternoon we ran errands and then went over to Mama’s to eat a snack supper before it was time to go. I picked up some food, and we sat down at her table to eat. As we held hands, bowed our heads, and said the blessing around the table, just as we’ve done so many times with her, I had the oddest and most precious sense of her presence. Like I haven’t felt before. With tears in my eyes, I said Amen, and felt a peace set in as well. She always liked the idea of and sought that–a peace that passes all understanding.
The gymnastics performance was delightful. Such talented young people. It was awesome to see my little guy’s eyes focused on the tween-aged boys who were phenomenal in their routine. Our princess was excited–as she is about so many things in her world. It was her first gymnastics performance. She loved her leotard, loved being there, loved the routine. It was a good night, but I missed Mama. A year ago she was with us there. We didn’t get to have supper with her that night because there was a bad storm coming up. The clouds and rain of this past Thursday night reminded me of the weather a year ago. Mama had enjoyed watching the children, especially our little guy.
Last night was dress rehearsal for our Princess’ recital. She was in her element–dressup, dance, being with friends–all things she loves. And she loves her teacher. So do I. She is a dear, sweet, gracious lady who loves and dotes on each of her students. She has especially been a blessing in the rocky journey we’ve been on the past few months. Her love and patience, her laughter and gentle ways–they’ve helped so much.
I had the privilege of helping with my girl’s class in the downstairs/backstage experience. I was thinking about it, and I actually prefer seeing her perform from backstage. I get to see her excited face just before she goes on, eyes huge in her face, her eager yet nervous smile, and her little hip hop step she takes as she goes on stage. Because she does that–little hip hop steps–when she is most excited.
Dress rehearsal went smoothly. Today was the actual performance. I’ve thought about Mama a lot today. We picked her up last year, and she went with us. She, Aub, and our little guy sat together in the audience while I was backstage, and Mama was enchanted by all of the performances, but most especially by those of her little Princess. Mama loved all children and believed that every one of them should be loved and wanted. That’s what she did when she watched those performances last year. Loved every one of those children. And boy, on the way home, she smiled and laughed and said over and over how much she enjoyed going, talking about the different performances. It was the first time since Daddy had gotten really sick that I thought we might actually make it. Daddy had been gone just over six months by the time of the recital last year, but it felt like it had been no time. To see her smile and hear her laugh, I was filled with hope and…..well, Hope.
So this afternoon, after our second time up the stairs for their last performance, as all of the children were gathered behind the closed curtains for the final curtain call, I thought about the past year, and how much I miss my Mama. I miss her when I’m sad and hurting, but I also miss sharing my joys with her. She would have been there today, no doubt. To think about the years of her not being at things that are yet to come was almost too much to bear, and then the tears started flowing. I guess I really should carry around my own bandana. I couldn’t stop them. Thank goodness for the darkness backstage.
I write this tonight for my children. I want them to remember how much Maemae and Cap loved them, and how they loved being a part of their lives, of their stories. They were there for the events they could get to, and they wanted to hear about the ones they couldn’t. I want them to know that it’s okay to be sad and to cry when they are missing them. But it’s also okay to laugh and tell funny stories about Maemae and Cap and to talk to them when they want to. I believe they are listening.
Tonight I give thanks for the time we did have. For the memory of Mama’s laughter and joy over little ones, especially her little ones, as she watched them do flips and tap their hearts out a year ago. She found hope in those days too, I think. I give thanks for the wonderful dance and gymnastics teachers and friends who have walked this journey with us as well, who have given an extra hug, sent a card, patted me on the shoulder, said a kind word, but mostly, who have loved on my babies. That right there. I love you all, and I cannot say thank you enough for that. I also give thanks that my children will never have to doubt how much they were loved by Maemae and Cap, because they told them often with their words, but even more often with their actions. Mama said that a lot, “Actions speak louder than words.” And my three precious gifts, as you face your future, remember that, do what you can to let both your words and your actions show love and light in the world. Just as your grandparents did. You were and are loved and always will be.