Happiness…and Sorrow

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.


25 responses to “Happiness…and Sorrow

  1. And we’ll be cheering Olivia on from all over the globe. I love your honesty, Tiffany, and the way you truly seek out the positive in a way that everyone can relate to and take part of.

    You challenge and inspire me. Happiness!!!

  2. beautiful post. there are so many things i don’t let my children do for fear that they will get hurt (emotionally or physically). i am inspired by your strength and resolve! 🙂

  3. Your honesty is refreshing and your outlook on her life is awe-inspiring. Can’t wait to see how she does next year!!

  4. This post is so touching and so beautiful, I’m struggling what to write as a comment because I so desperately don’t want to sound trite. What strikes me about this story is that it captures a particular moment yet this particular moment in some ways encapsulates the totality of your experience as Olivia’s mother. I love this. So glad to have found you through five for ten!

  5. Poignant. Honest. Beautiful. These are really the only words worthy of this post.

    I wish I could have seen Olivia dancing.

  6. You brought me right to the stage with you and Olivia! Looking forward to next year! 🙂

  7. I bet she will do great next year and for all the years to come! She has a great support system and a momma that loves her deeply!

  8. I was crying before I even read that you were crying. That is so awesome for Olivia. I think next year she’ll be ready and even if you’re not ready, you’ll have to let her go.

  9. I got a little weepy reading this. Your love for your daughter is so profound, and these moments for you are both beautiful and hard to bear.

    I’d love it if you’d dance with her next year–videotape it! Please?

  10. Oh wow. What an honest and thoughtful response to happiness. (Wiping away tears as we speak.)

  11. So you are back to making me cry at work. As always I love your honesty and I can feel the moment.

  12. Ok. So I didn’t cry when she danced. I just watched and smiled and laughed. But now I cried reading this! Haha! You have a way with words that makes everything even more emotional for me! 🙂
    I think she will be FABULOUS in the show next year! We were all so worried about her before she participated in the show with her kindergarten class and she did so well!! She has come so far since then and I can’t wait to see what she’ll do now!

  13. Ok. Now I’M crying! That was such a beautiful moment, turned beautiful post! Can’t wait to hear the story for next year.

  14. There is a lot to learn from a child dancing in the first place. I understand your sorrow. And, now both you and Olivia will prepare for a different deal (not the “real” deal, because, in fact, Olivia dancing freely like she did, IS THE REAL DEAL!)

  15. Love it my friend! You really need to write a book my friend, enjoy your dinner tonight with your friend 😉

  16. You know what? You are doing a phenomenal job. Truly. Do not feel sorrow because you did not make it happen this year. You didn’t know if she was ready. If you had known she was ready and kept her from doing it then I’d say shame on you, but this is uncharted territory for the two of you. This year maybe she’ll really get to enjoy the show and next year she’ll get to enjoy it on a totally different level.

  17. I have always admired your honesty and your love for Olivia. In my mind she needed this year to approach the stage so that she’s ready to be up on it next year. Baby steps all the way – it’s how she’s always done things:) This little girl was placed in your care because of the amazing person that you are – don’t forget that:) love ya!

  18. Glad you stopped by. You might need to revisit and read some of my older posts. I have a son with a condition called Trevor’s Disease. It is not like Cri Du Chat BUT he has limitations. He is amazing and brave just like your little girl. Watch them fly.

    My heart breaks when he is not included or is stared at for the huge shoe he must wear. But he could care less. He is resilient and happy.

    Olivia, my favorite name, is so beautiful.

  19. beautiful. i was crying at the picture of it on my head.

    you and her both are so blessed.

  20. Sweetie!

    Don’t be so hard on yourself — you didn’t “chicken” out from selfishness, you were worried for her. Out of your immense love for her and your natural maternal instinct for protection.

    Our children never cease to amaze us. One day, we think that they’re not ready and then they surprise us! So enjoy your surprise and know that next year she will be ready!

  21. I love reading your blog and you have created a new addiction for me to read other blogs. Remember this…You can’t mother perfect the first time through or the rest of it will be too easy! What you do with Olivia is phenomenal and you are darn near close to perfect when it comes to all you do for her!!!

  22. Okay, I don’t really know you OR Olivia, but now I’m all weepy. Your description of this, the happiness tinged with sorrow, is so heartfelt it bleeds right through the screen. Don’t forget this post. And next year I hope you can write one entitled SUCCESS at the Talent Show.


  23. Thank you for posting this beautiful story. A little over a year ago my wife and I had our own little baby girl. Her name is Chiara and she also has 5p-. Reading your stories of Olivia have brought tears to my eyes (not a small feat), strength to my heart, and just all-around encouragement. Please pray for us as we learn and grow along with our little angel.

  24. You are so honest. I think that does more for people than you realize. I cannot wait for next year. We want video to see Olivia dancing also! Cut yourself a break. Some times you are ready for things and some times you just aren’t. This was the year to see if she’d be able to watch the show. She did. Baby steps. Next year, you’ll put her in it. Big step.

  25. Pingback: True Happiness | Elastamom's Excerpts

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