So many things have been happening these past couple of weeks I'm not sure how to write it all into one cohesive post. If I had to choose just one word to describe the going ons, it would be proud.
Last weekend our little family participated in our first ever organized running event. It made me so happy to be there all together. I've dabbled in running for many years. Mostly just for exercise and to keep active. I don't set a lot of goals for running. Basically I run when I feel like it, as fast as I feel like and for as long as I feel like on any particular day. Some days I feel good and have a great run and some days I feel like I have lead feet. However it goes, I just tell myself that any run is better than no run.
So when a committee I belong to decided to organize a family fun run for our community we all decided to sign up. Callie and her friends decided that they wanted to try to run the 5k race. A few weeks before the official run, and before I actually signed Callie up, we took the girls out for a couple of practices. Mostly just to ensure that they understood how far 5k was and to get them familiar with the route. After a couple of trial runs, Callie was confident that she wanted to do the 5k.
When I registered Callie for the run, she got a little pep talk. Something like, "Ok, on the day of the run, you're going to kinda be on your own. Mom, dad, and grandma are all running too but we're not going to run with you or wait for you. You and your friends will have to encourage each other and just do your best. There will be lots of people on the trail so you don't have to be scared. Run as much as you can. Walk when you need to. And have fun."
She was all good with this pep talk but sometimes I'm never sure what will actually happen until the moment is upon us. I always say that showing up is the hardest part of life. I'm a firm believer in participation ribbons for showing up because it's like saying "way to go, you tried". Imagine what the world would be like if everybody just showed up and tried.
Well sister showed up and tried and ran and completed her first organized 5k race at the age of 9. I wish that I could have been at the finish line to cheer her on and wave my proud mama freak flag but I was somewhere between k6 and k7 of my 10k run. But her dad and grandma were there to receive her and take pictures and wave the freak flag for me.
As for Lexi, she was signed up to run the 1k but instead chose to volunteer her services helping out at a water station and cheering on the runners. She handed me water at k2 and I saw her again at k8. Her little cheers were all the encouragement I needed to keep going.
This year Callie sang with her school choir. Every Thursday she packed her lunch and met at noon in the music room at school. Their grand finale was the performance of Pirates the Musical. Callie didn't have an acting part as those were reserved for the older grades but sister got a taste of what being part of a production is like.
She was nervous about performing on stage but was comforted by the fact that she wasn't up there alone. And all us parents gush and gush and wave our flags and smile and clap with pride because we know the time and effort and commitment that goes into a school play and how hard it is to sing and dance on stage for an audience. Imagine the last time you sang and danced on stage for an audience. Sober as a judge. Oh, you haven't done that lately? That's what I thought. Would you be brave enough to show up? Showing up and trying is all it takes to get the proud mama flag waving. Participation ribbons for everyone!
Let's take a moment to talk about piano lessons. After watching her big sister for the past two years, it was little sisters turn to join the ranks of piano playing. If you were to ask Lexi if she likes playing piano she would probably smile and say, "no, not really". But yet, she happily goes to her lessons, tries her best, doesn't give up and does her practices with little complaint.
When it came time for her first formal piano recital, little sister pretty much said, "I got this." She waltzed into the church, chatted up with her friends, played her composition and her Bridges song and took her bow like she's been doing this her whole life. Maybe her confidence comes from knowing what to expect since she's watched her sister at this gig over the years or maybe it's just they way she's made. Either way, she always amazes me.
Now, if you ask Callie if she likes playing piano she'll likely emphatically tell you, "NO, I hate it. Mom makes me do it and doesn't care that I hate it and it ruins my life." She complains about going to lessons and fights and argues about every practice. Of course I question everyday if "the gift of music" is worth the constant battle. I've turned to the all knowing Google to find out whether I should persevere and hold out for the day that she thanks me or if I am truly ruining her life by forcing her to take lessons and she'll resent me for the rest of her life. The problem with asking Google is that it will give you whatever answer you're looking for.
In my Google searching I did learn a few things about piano players. I learned a lot about what's going on in the brain when playing an instrument. I learned that the piano is the only instrument that uses all ten fingers independent of each other and I learned that most kids don't want to practice but most adult are thankful for having music lessons. Sometimes I sit down at the piano and try to play some of what Callie is learning. And guess what? It's hard! It's hard to play one had smooth and quiet while playing the other hand jumpy and loud and never mind actually hitting the right keys. I can appreciate that it is no easy task.
Going into this years recital, Callie said, "this is the first time I'm not feeling nervous". She played her composition and her song Jazz Blast. She played the bells and sang along with all the other students. She is a talented piano player. She enjoyed the recital. And interestingly enough, she has played the piano more in the last week now that she doesn't "have" to than she has in months. Go figure. I don't know if making her continue with piano lessons is the right thing or not. But when I see the little sparks of joy it seems to make it all worth it.