My apologies for my semi-silence. Life has been pretty intense and all of that has been escalated by Hurricane Harvey.
Quick update on that to get it out of the way, we have been working every day to try and get our lives back together. Having to sort through our house, barn, and three storage buildings as well as my dads shop and relocating them to other buildings, all while trying to figure out where my parents will live while their house is gutted and rebuilt has been exhausted. Have I mentioned I’m back to work? And most of our clients lost much if not everything? Good times.
When they took apart the fallen storage building we call “the yellow building” to try and get to the boxes to see what was salvageable, my first ballet costume from when I was six remained tucked in the drawers of the dresser that went straight to the burn pile. When I got home from work and found out, i stood in the pile of remaining things to be sorted and cried.
If you know me, I’m not a crier. But the overwhelming reality of it all hit me in the moment that I knew my costume wasn’t safely tucked away any more. That I could never pull it out to look at the year that stuck with me and started it all. That I didn’t know if any pictures remained, and if so if they had immense water damage.
I distracted myself by going through other boxes to pull myself together. I didn’t have time to fall apart. We had about an hour before the mosquitoes got really bad and there was so much to sort. A couple days later I found a box with old books, including my great grandmas diaries and old pictures. Among them were many ruined ones, stuck together, ink running down to make them unrecognizable. Also among them were two pictures stuck together, the top one showing me and my childhood best friend on stage in that first recital costume. It had damage on the edges, but we were in the center of the picture. Close enough. My heart swelled knowing that something remained of the beginning of my ballet story. Of the recitals my grandpa attended, causeing the conversation I found myself coming back to as a dreaming teen and young adult, wanting so badly to become the thing I always dreamed of being. I also found the VHS of the ballet I watched until the film inside was ruined. (The Toy Soldier.)
It’s weird having my reality so affected, continuously trying to put the pieces back together any given moment that I’m “home”, yet going to the studio and everything and everyone being back to normal. What’s more is the fact my office was largely unaffected, yet if you open the front door and look to the right, you see a house without a roof, contents from all the houses stacked on the curb.
In a way, having the studio helps me have a sense of normalcy. I appreciate the fact that it is still there and things are predictable–well, as predictable as they can be with a new year and new students.
On the other hand, it can be difficult to exist in a world where people have already begun to forget and move on while my family is still buried in the reality of the storm.
Thankfully, I have some great students. They’re cute as can be and so full of life. Being around them helps me more than I think I realize.
My Friday kids, especially. It’s the perfect class size and they’re so excited to be there. About half of the class are kids I had last year, and having that bit of familiar helps more than anything, I think. It’s funny, because you think that adults are supposed to be the ones to comfort and encourage the children, when really they can comfort and encourage you if you let them.
I was a bit anxious for Saturday after having a Friday full of subbing classes with no assistants, one of them being quite a handful. (Ironically due to two of my students doing a make up class.) my assistant was there for my first class, but was pulled to teach the tap class at the same time as my second class. I was so incredibly proud of her and the fact she had this opportunity. She has such immense talent and works so very hard. She is kind, and the kids love her and look up to her.
There’s one tiny baby in the 3-4 year old class who really took to her the first week. I was gone and there was a sub, and this tiny baby cried the entire time. Alexis jumped in and comforted her and encouraged her. When I came for my first week with the kids, I had hear of “the crier” and her mom came up to me and told me how much Alexis meant to her daughter. How she wouldn’t stop talking about her and even made sure that she was included in their nightly prayers. It made my heart swell. I get rather territorial over my babies. I love them as if they were my own, so leaving them makes me uneasy. Knowing that I have such great assistants here when I’m not brings me so much peace, I can’t even explain it.
This week, Alexis wasn’t going to be in the class, but she brilliantly found the tiny baby before, explained to her what was going on and that she would hug her afterwards. She told her to have fun and do what I said and to tell her all about it when the class was over. And guys, it worked. The sweet girl rocked that class. You would have never guessed she had been “the crier” and she had so much fun, being sure to find Alexis afterwards to tell her all about it.
Before class her mom found Alexis and I and gave us these
How stinking cute are these cookies? She thanked us for being so patient and great with her daughter, and the little nugget even thanked us and gave us big hugs. I didn’t feel worthy since Alexis was the main reason this little one had done so well, but was so grateful nonetheless.
This is what it’s about. This is why we do what we do. Inspiring kids and doing what we can to help them feel comfortable, while teaching them this art we mutually love. Seeing these girls I took class with and danced roles with stepping up and taking such huge responsibility, taking it seriously and being such great examples to the younger ones–I can’t even explain how much this means to me.
I struggle every day. Between all the chronic illnesses and the pain and the emotional toll right now, not falling apart is a challenge. Having this, having dance, and having such incredible people in my life because of it literally makes the difference. I don’t divulge the details of the struggle here, though if you read these long ol’ posts you do get a glimpse, but please know that those of you that I have gotten to know, that have reached out, that have given your time or sent money or offered up prayers, those of you that work tirelessly to help me by doing what you’re simply committed to do, all of this is life changing. All of this is part of the strength people tell me I must have to keep going. You help give me strength. And I could never thank you for that.
Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for caring about me. Thank you for being such incredible people and being in my life.