First Recital - Age 4 - June 2008
It's the morning of dance recital and while I'm not having a fit of panic trying to get everything ready at the last minute, I am having somewhat of a fit of nostalgia looking back at that cute little face above, and reminiscing about all the recitals past. This is our sixth recital. We're old hat. At this point, I've pretty much experienced and/or witnessed all of the madness and mayhem that can accompany such an event.
I used to be the kind of mom - or rather, the kind of person, that came unglued on a whim. Birthday parties, recitals, any major milestone wore me out with anxiety ridden chaos. Then again, anything - and anyone - with a faulty foundation is certain to come apart when shaken. Proverbs tells us that a person who lacks self control is "like a city with broken down and without walls" - lacking control over that which flows in and inevitably, that which flows out.
Grace changes all that. We begin to learn what it means to guard our hearts while at the same time, surrendering them. And it's layers and layers of surrender. As mamas, we surrender our desire for some unattainable sense perfection, both in ourselves and in our children. It's a lifelong lesson that grows deeper through each season, and each milestone. We learn to seek peace instead of perfection. His peace. In all things. In all days.
Peace without perfection. The peace that passes understanding - and something really strange began to happen when I first began experiencing this peace: I stopped trying to make things look perfect. I accepted things as they were. It turns out, peace and imperfection are not mutually exclusive. Who knew.
And so, I have a few promises for my daughter today...
Dear Doodlebug, today, on the day of your recital, I promise:
1) I promise that I will do my part as your Mommy to help have everything ready to go the night before. There will be no last minute come aparts looking for your sequined headband, or missing white glove...
2) I promise that I will have the whole family, yes, even Daddy and the Nana, ready to go on time - so that no one has to experience the insanity that comes with running late.
3) I promise that I will not make you pose for a hundred more photographs. I know, this one is a hard one for me. But, I've reminded myself of all the photographs that have already been taken - you know, by professionals and myself on picture day and again by me on dress rehearsal day... and all the days in between.
4) I promise that I will not be that mom, the one with a rolling caboodle of make-up, filing the dressing room with my palpable anxiety, forcing you to stand still while I touch up your make-up again, or agonize over every hair being in its perfect place.
5) I promise that I will not fall apart over a run in your stockings or any other detail that, at the end of the day, is not going to matter at all.
6) I promise to choose peace over a faulty sense of perfection, today and everyday of your childhood.
7) I promise to watch you laugh, smile, and of course, dance.
8) I promise to cherish every moment of this special day instead of try to manage every moment of this day.
9) I promise to remind myself - and you - that you are nine. Oh, just enjoy being nine.
10) I promise to tell you how proud I am of you, how very much I love you and teach you today, and hopefully each day, to be you - God's girl - just the way you are.
I love you.