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Red Umbrella

Okay, I think I am finally ready to write about this… I talk a ton about small, little events that affect me.  Simple things like tags on a t shirt, or listening to a song in the car with the kids.  I show how all these little things become the memories we shares, become our traditions, the stuff that we will pass down as time goes on, but what about the BIG things.  What about when something BIG happens.   I’ve got to write about these things too!

A couple weekends ago, my oldest daughter played Mary Poppins in a ballet show with her dance studio.  There were a ton of parts, a ton of kids who played major roles in this production.  And the kids were fantastic, truly incredible, but my daughter was playing Mary Poppins in the production called Mary Poppins.   I remember when she tried out for a role and she was told she would be Mary Poppins.  Proud isn’t even really a big enough word for it.  

The studio does a ballet every year in the middle of their season.   My wife has been working it for years, and ever since my daughter was eligible she has participated.  They do a great job getting all the kids involved.  It is treated like a Broadway show.  They ask the kids in the studio to draw a picture of whatever the show is each year and they vote on the best one and that one is printed on the front cover of all the programs.  The owner of the studio and all the staff are really amazing.  Having seen a million of these things, I am still in awe of how much time and effort is put in by all of them. 

My daughter took her role, as she does with all her roles, very seriously.   Watching her on this crazy emotional roller coaster the weeks leading up to the play was truly something.  Going from not believing in herself, completely doubting everything she had learned, to shining on that stage was truly breathtaking.

I always get nervous for her before any performance, probably because I get to see all the work, all the prep and all the butterflies leading up to it.   This one however was different for me.  There were to be two shows for this ballet.  The first show was great, but I was so nervous during it, I’m not sure I actually enjoyed it.    I watched the show as a Dad, and not as a fan.  I was sweating each time she was out there.   Each leap or arabesque I would have to close my eyes.  I was so scared of a piece of the set falling or a missed step I didn’t get to fully enjoy it.   Of course, from what I gathered from the audience it was a good show.  They always are.  But, something was missing from it.

After the first show was over though was when something changed for me.   I was waiting to talk to my daughter to give her a hug and tell her how proud I was of her when two little girls stopped to talk with her.   I was left off to the side just waiting for my chance to say hi to Mary Poppins.  One of the girls was talking, but my eyes were glued to the other one for some reason.  I watched as she held back tears getting up the courage to talk to Mary Poppins.  I watched her almost cry, gather herself, say hi to Mary Poppins and then turn her head with a humongous smile.   It was a really, really great moment.  She didn’t know I was near, didn’t know who I was, but I got to see pure joy on her face just getting the chance to see my daughter.  

It was such a cool moment to witness that it completely relaxed me.  It took me away from being Dad, and I was able to watch the second show as a fan of the entire performance.  I wasn’t nervously watching anymore.   I was excited to see all the kids, and when my daughter was on the stage I was in awe.  The way they told a story without words, as a ballet does, was completely amazing.  The faces on the kids, the selling of the story, from the first timers to the “pro’s”, they all were really incredible.  The kids are very, very talented, that’s easy to see during a performance or show.  There are TONS of kids at that studio who work just as hard, who deserve to be the “lead” just as much as my daughter.  That’s the best part about the dance studio.    

Mary Poppins does this solo at the end where she is dancing across the stage with her red umbrella.   It was really something BIG for us.  It was a lot of work for my daughter to get to that point.   It was like a reward for all her hard work.  She used every inch of that stage, like she wanted to make sure she touched every little spot to remember it and show how much she was going to miss being Mary Poppins.  

As the curtain closed, Mary Poppins made her way through the audience up the aisle to meet her friend Bert who was waiting to walk away with her, I remember wanting time to stop.  I wanted to bottle up this moment so I would be able to show it to her every time she didn’t feel like she was good enough.   I remember thinking about how BIG of a moment this was for my LITTLE girl…. and I remember wiping tears of joy from my eyes.  

Life isn’t always good, life is sometimes so much better than good.  I guess some might even say its supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.  

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