For the last 9 years…and for the rest of my Olivia’s life…I think Happiness with always be tinged with a little bit of sorrow. Her entire life is bittersweet to me. Luckily, I’m an optimist and choose to focus on the happy…but I believe it’s important to let myself feel the sorrow. Somehow it makes the happy just that much more sweet.
Every year at this time, my kids’ school holds a talent show. Gabe has played piano in it every year. Olivia loves the talent show. She talks about it for weeks leading up to it and is excited for it…and then we go to watch and she loses it. She can’t handle the loud noise, the crowd, seeing her friends on stage instead of in their classroom, the instruments. It’s too much.
But, oh how she longs to be part of it.
I thought maybe this was the year to let her try participating…but I chickened out. I didn’t want to see what would happen if it didn’t work; I didn’t want to feel that disappointment for her…or for me. I didn’t think I could handle it. I didn’t want to have to handle it.
Gabe was playing piano this year again and had to go to rehearsal. So I decided to let Olivia come with me and watch. Just to see how she did.
She laughed. She clapped. She yelled “Bravo!” at her friends and classmates. She loved it.
There were no tears…there was no hitting or pinching or kicking. There was just pure joy.
And then her two best buddies were on stage dancing. They waved at her. And she got up off my lap and stood in front of the stage watching in awe as her friends danced.
And then she danced. She danced on the floor in front of the stage where her friends danced. She was lost in a moment of pure joy; she was in the talent show and she was dancing.
I lost it.
I sobbed like a baby. I looked up and saw her regular ed teacher crying too. I’m not sure why it got to me so. I think it was partly joy and happiness at watching my baby girl dance in front of a theater full of people and not have a care in the world what they thought; this beautiful girl who took so long to walk, to talk, to do everything was dancing beautifully in her own way. But, as always, this extreme happiness was tinged with sorrow. Sorrow that she wasn’t on the “real” stage with her best friend in matching outfits showing the school the dance they had spent hours making up and rehearsing; sorrow that she’s different; sorrow over how hard she has to work at everything; sorrow for all the things she’ll never get to do. But most of all, I think it was sorrow that I didn’t make this happen for her. I didn’t call up her friends’ moms and make this happen. I chickened out…and I shouldn’t have.
You know what? This mama’s making it happen next year. I’ll get up there and dance with her if I have to. And I bet she’ll be the star of the show.