Kay, the Ballerina
Tonight, I went to my daughter’s Dress Rehearsal for her big recital weekend and I had tears in my eyes….
Before we left, I carefully put her hair in a bun and applied dark pink lipstick and blush to my freckled soon to be 10-year-old. I watched her turn in my bathroom mirror admiring the warm colors on her face. She smiled from the inside out. We arrived at the theater and I watched her walk in and noted the nerves she felt as she fidgeted with her pink sweater. She approached girls from her class and greeted them with a nervous, but hopeful smile. She glanced back to me, looking for the reassurance and I gave it gladly with a comforting smile. Dad was parking. He was there. . .This is the first rehearsal he has ever attended in her 5th year of Ballet. Kay (my daughter) went off with her class to change for the rehearsal. She returned in a sparkly purple leotard with a hot pink tutu. Her Hair is in a bun and a rhinestone headband is worn like a tiara. I listen to the girls in her class chat…some complaining about wearing ‘pink’ because it was sooo pink. Kay, giggles and agrees. She is the youngest in the class as a 4th grader. Most of the girls are in Middle School and make her look like a miniature version of themselves. I watch as she sits three rows down from her Dad and I. She turns around proudly and waves. She’s waving at me…but, I know she is really waving at her Dad. She continues to turn around often….waving…smiling. She is glowing.
When she was called to perform, I had the camera clicking away as The Husband proudly recorded. Dress Rehearsal is the only time photography is allowed. As I glanced around the small theater, I noticed we were one of the few that took advantage of this. So many parents stayed glued to their phones or iPads. Some, brought food…others talked among themselves. All I could think of was that they don’t know what they are missing. Weeks earlier we had an “Observation week” at the studio and were allowed to sit in on the class…literally in the class while the girls danced around us. Out of the entire class, my husband and I were the only parents to attend.
There are so many things I could complain about with serving in the military. I could go on and on and on…but tonight showed one of the greatest gifts.
Living as a military family has taught me to savor every single moment. I sat, holding my husband’s hand, taking in every second…every detail. Because, we can’t get this back and I don’t know when and if this moment will happen again. This is a hard lesson to learn as a milspouse. You spend months wishing days will go by faster to return your service member safely home to you. You rush to bed, so that tomorrow comes faster. I did this. For years. There were days I went to bed with my kids (when they were little) at 6:30pm. The neighborhood would still be buzzing with activity and the sun shining, but I wanted tomorrow to come so badly that I just went to bed with them so the day would end.
Now, I want that time back and it’s gone. So, I won’t make that mistake again. Every day I make an effort to note the little things. And on the days where the kids are driving me insane and my world is turned upside down, I remind myself of the days I didn’t want badly enough. The days I threw away.
So, tonight, I noted the sparkles, the laughter, the emotion…the fact that I had a hand to hold. . .I had tears in my eyes when my baby walked on the stage and looked like a young woman. I’ve learned that these are the moments and that the are irreplaceable. Time goes by too fast.
Maybe someone reading this is rushing through a deployment…or just a week…a day….
I hope that you all take a minute to realize time is precious and that there are no ‘do overs’. Love deeply, live each day to its fullest and choose to be present.
I held my husband’s hand tonight and ‘we’ watched our baby girl dance. . .