Thursday, June 25, 2015

I'm Nervous

Yesterday was my three year old granddaughter Kate's first dance class.
It was her special reward for being fully potty trained.
(well almost....who is really ever FULLY potty trained)
She was so excited to be a ballerina like Angelina Ballerina.
Her mom dressed her up in pink tights, pink body suit, pink skirt and a pink bow in her carefully braided hair. She asked if her mom would make her face pink as well.
They compromised with a little blush on each cheek.
They came to my house to pick me up and Kate emerged from her car in all her pink glory.
She looked like a little delicious stick of cotton candy.
She came in my house and said that she needed to wait a few minutes.
She asked if she could play in the new little house I had built for her.
I told her that there wasn't enough time to play and that we needed to get to her much anticipated dance class.
She said she needed something to eat.
She already had breakfast her mom told me.
She then said she needed to go to the bathroom.
No one ever tells her no on that one.
Her mom said that was strange since she had just gone before they left their house.
But like I is NEVER a good idea to say no to a bathroom visit.
"Cmon Gramma" she said, "Come with me."
I went into my bedroom bathroom and helped her take off her whole pink ensemble. She sat herself on the toilet and smiled at me like it was a party.
I kept asking her if she was finished to which she would reply...
"In a minute a minute."
She unrolled the toilet paper over and over again.
Now I am no rocket scientist but I know a good stall technique when I see one.
"Kate, I said...are you nervous?"
Kate looked at me with an expression of relief on her face. There was a word for this. All these butterflies in her stomach had a word.
"Yes Grammy...I be nervous."
I told her," Kate, I know you feel nervous since is this is the first time you are going to dance but don't will have a great time. And if you want you can just sit on my lap and watch the other girls dance. You can dance only if you feel like dancing."
She hesitated and thought about the offer and finally nodded her head yes.
She would go to dance class.
When we got there she was the first little girl there. As the dance instructor welcomed her she blurted out..."I am nervous. She was grateful to share the new word she had learned. The instructor assured her that she would have fun and that there would be plenty of other girls that were coming.
She walked over and stared into the room that she would dance in.
She was nervous.
As the other little pink girls started to come in Kate started to let loose of some of the butterflies. She loves other children and calls everyone she meets her size her new friend.
As the teacher led the line of little dancers into the studio I noticed my daughter Megan get up to fall in the line.
"Not you" I whispered...I don't think they want the mothers in there."
The look on Megans face was one I was well acquainted with. It was the same one I had whenever my children were ushered from my side somewhere without me.
Megan was nervous.
I told her...if you think this is bad just wait until the first day of kindergarten.
That thought made Megan even more nervous.
We both stood at the glass window as close as possible watching to see how Kate would do. I of course had my camera out to document this special occasion. Another "first" from a long line of "firsts" yet to come.
Kate loved it. They jumped on trampolines and hopped and played with hula hoops. She even did her very first front roll. Megan and I talked about the future and what classes to sign her up for. She was having the time of her life until they came to the choreography of a dance they would do in front of the moms. I don't know if it was the choreography or the thought of dancing in front of others but Kate decided she needed to go to the bathroom right that instant. Megan brought her back as they were doing another activity...the limbo. Kate squealed with excitement. She was in heaven....until they started more choreography. Now Kate had an urgent need to wash her hands. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
By the time she returned they were ready to preform the much anticipated strawberry shortcake dance they had all been taught for the mothers. Kate had other plans.
She wanted to use her get out jail free card as promised by her gramma and sit on my lap.
Her teacher urged her to try and dance with them. She said there would be a treat and she whispered what it was in Kate's ear. It was enough to make Kate stand on her spot...a rubber circle placed on the floor. Her mark. Her first taste of show business. The teacher cued the music and the room of pink little girls began to dance.
and here it is.
Her first dance captured frame by frame.
She is the little ballerina in the hot pink skirt in the middle.
The one that is not moving.
The one that is studying her fingers and picking at a hangnail.
Although on the last two frames and as soon as the music stopped..she does reach out ever so gracefully and with her two arms extended she ran to sit in her Grammys lap.
A star is born.

Monday, January 12, 2015



Not my favorite word unless you are talking about the coins in your pocket or the bottom of your purse....I love that kind of change.
All the other definitions of the word are usually not as lucrative.
I read a quote in a book this week that really struck me like a lightening bolt. Well I guess that sounds a little dramatic but suffice it to say I am a crusty old dame and don't read much that I don't say...been there...done the t-shirt.....washed shrunk.....threw it away.
It was from a book that my daughter recommended that I read.
I have seen it on multiple lists of high school sheets clutched in the hands of desperate mothers looking for the book that a thousand other kids need for school and so of course is sold out and you would sell your eye tooth to get whatever copy you can because it needs to be read and a paper written on it by tomorrow!
I digress.
The quote was from Alas Babylon by Pat Frank

""She had small fear of death and of man none at all, but the formlessness of what was to come overwhelmed her."

That pretty much sums me up in a nutshell.

Formlessness...the condition of lacking a definite or regular form or shape; shapeless.

It can be pretty overwhelming. Most of us crave boundaries. Try and explain that to my sweet two year old granddaughter and you will find a pretty tough sell,... but if you look closely at her eyes when she is melting down after being stopped at doing something that she really really really wants to do and you will see it....relief. 
Relief from the formlessness.
Change brings with it a strange sensation. No matter how many times I prepare for usually has a way of stirring up the flutters in my mind and body. That slightly uneasy feeling. Shapeless.

Yesterday our ward family was changed. For those who are not familiar with the arrangement of LDS congregations.....a ward is a designated geographic area that combines all of it's members into a group. Your meeting times are assigned and your new ward friends and family are determined by where you live. These wards are then further grouped geographically into stakes. And no not the delicious T-bones and porterhouses kind of steak. These are not constructed of personal choice but of necessity, functionality and spiritual promptings of the leadership of the ward, stakes, and regions and the prophet and apostles of our faith.

In a church with much emphasis on choice and free will it is one of changes that are not always easy or expected. They do not always feel like a choice that you would have made. They can split up friends and extended families. They can seem like just the sort of formlessness you weren't looking for or asking for.
My husband once told me of an experience in first grade where he was assigned a new young teacher...Miss Cates.....fresh out of college. He was so excited to be in her class. She was young and she was pretty. The other teacher in first grade Mrs. Meeker had a different reputation. Word around the playground was that Mrs. Meeker was so mean. If you made a mistake you weren't allowed to erase it. In fact the rumor was that she cut off all of the erasers on the tops of students pencils to prevent them from even sneaking an eraser stroke. And she was old. His 6 year old brain estimated her to be well into her seventies. He was so relieved to have won the first grade teacher lottery.
After about a week in paradise the principal came in to announce that there would be some changes. A few of the students in Miss Cates class would be moved to Mrs. Meekers class to balance out the numbers. Todd sat in fear that his name would be called. My guess is that he clutched his eraser close while the principal read the names on the list.
As each name was read he would breathe a sigh of relief until the last name was called.
Todd Winn
Knowing my husband and his sweet heart and personality I can only imagine what he was feeling as he heard the fateful decision. It makes me want to construct a time machine if only for that moment to go back and scoop his 6 year old sad form and hug him tight and whisper in his's's going to be just fine.
And it was fine. 
Mrs. Meeker did not cut off the tops of his pencil erasers and he found out that she was a good teacher.... that the rumors were exaggerated and that he really was fine.

I will not get to see some of my sweet friends each Sunday. Friends that I have loved and laughed with. Friends that have helped me out during hard times. Friends that have told me what they like about me even when I did not like me. I will miss giving and receiving from Sister Torres a hug and a kiss on her cheek every Sunday. Seeing her family baptized and go to the temple will always be one of my favorite memories of the Sienna Plantation ward. I will miss watching Mike Johnson's dedication to his Sunday school calling each week inspiring me to be better at mine. I will miss my teenagers from my Sunday school class that still come into the library each week to give me a hug. I will miss watching them grow up to be spectacular young men and women. How I treasure those kids. I will miss my blonde bombshell friend Victoria who fills a room with her presence and thinks I am a much smarter person that I really am. I will miss the constant smiles from people like Marianne Smith and Jeff Peterson that remind me that a smile really is a gift to others. I will miss Clarissa calling me Aunt Shelley to her sweet children. I could go on and on. They have been a constant weekly presence in my life and I am grateful for what I learned from each one of them.
What I will miss most of all is the squeal of delight I received every week from my number one fan. I always felt like a celebrity. It made my heart feel full to overflowing.
If there is one thing that I have learned from life and being a mother and a Mormon is that change is the only constant.
Well that and the Lord Jesus Christ.
And that I am not losing anything but am gaining an opportunity to add to my circle of experience and love. That change is hard but it will be what I make of it. Good or is my choice.
And I will remember all the lessons I have learned from my old friends and use them to make some new ones.
I will remember that formlessness always takes shape eventually.
And that I still get to wrap my arms around my sweet little fan and her brother....
How blessed am I?