March 7, 2004

First Recital

Recently Rhiannon had her first Irish Step Dance recital. It was so wonderful to watch and we were so proud of her. It seemed like the show did not last long enough - her part being just a few minutes long. But after all the hassles and headaches about not wanting to practice - she ended up leading her little group - she remembered her steps and even smiled - which she said she was not going to do. I think she enjoyed herself - she definitely enjoyed being with her friends and being on stage, and she does like dancing.

The morning of the show however she woke up "sick" with a tummy ache and leg aches. Suspecting this was nerves we talked about it - she cuddled some with grandma and then cuddled some with me and finally ate breakfast. She was not excited about going and actually trying (not very hard) to get out of it. We talked about being nervous and how it was normal. Serona told her he still gets nervous when he goes on stage and grandma told her that she always got nervous before she gave a speech on TV. Rhiannon said that "her bones were pounding in her chest" which is usually what she says when she feels guilty about something - but she said "but I know I didn't do anything wrong" then we talked about "butterflies in the stomach" and I held her hand on the way to the show. Serona took her backstage and she perked up when she saw her friends from class. She did very well during the show and we were so proud of her. Grandma from New York came to visit (thus the light blogging) and bought her some special gifts including her first claddaugh ring! It was so exciting to have her at the show as a special guest.

I had those same mixed feelings I had last time she performed (that time was a play) that my "baby" is growing up. I really don't look at her as a baby (perhaps having two younger causes that) mostly because of the way she talks and holds herself. But still there was that sadness that she is growing up already and yet it was mostly excitement and pride at what a great job she did. This was one of her first tests at sticking power - there were a few times she did not want to continue (mostly when it came time to practice) and we almost pulled her from the class in December. Rhia then made the decision to stay with it and the commitment to practice and she did follow through (though I can not say without complaint). It paid off on the day of the dance recital. I'm glad she stuck it out even at a young age - we left the decision up to her in December and she chose to continue.

This is a natural progression and one that I don't feel came to soon. She was ready - more so than we were - but we were too (whether or not I want to admit it). 2004 has already been a big year for her - learning to read, first play, first recital, and mastering several other skills. She is so mature for her age and her vocabulary continually astounds me. We really have excellent conversations and she asks so many questions (both tough and easy ones) of me and everyone who will answer her. I hope her inquisitive nature never dies and that she continues to choose to stick with things even when they are challenging at times.

Irish step dance was good for us for many reasons - she learned more about dance and her culture and how to interact with other kids and a "teacher". But mostly I think she learned about herself. She had to make some choices and then live by them for good or for bad and she did (mostly for good). For once something did not come so easily to her and she actually had to work at it. She had to accept and learn that she wasn't the "best" at something but that she could still give her "best" and she had to learn to stay the course and practice even when she didn't want to. She also had to overcome her fears and insecurities that are a natural part of nerves before a big event. I really am proud of how she handled herself and how well this first performance went.


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