The song 'You Are So Beautiful To Me' by Joe Cocker has special meaning to me. When I went into labor a month early in 1981 and was told I would be having a c-section right away, the sex of our baby was the last thing on my mind. When the Dr. told me the baby was a girl, I was still listening for the APGAR score and then when I heard the number I wanted to hear, all of a sudden I realized he said we had a girl! I thought he was joking - after all it was just minutes before April fools day. How could I be so lucky to have 'one of each'! Within moments when David had a chance to see her and reported back to me that she was perfect, it started to sink in and I knew I would be able to buy pink dresses and add pink to the nursery and that our family was complete. I had my little girl and she was and is So Beautiful to Me. It wasn't long before that song soon became 'our song'. Even though Jen is now a lovely 27 year old smart, independent young woman living in her own apartment, we always find a way to connect when one of us hears that song on TV or the radio. I know it isn't part of the normal wedding reception protocol, but when Jen gets married, we will be dancing to our song.
Jen was the easiest baby. She ate and slept and had a wonderful disposition that lasted well into her teen years (nuff said!). And I did buy pink - oh did I buy pink clothes and I add lots of pink to her room. But as soon as she was able to express her opinions she decided she liked green too so pink and green became her colors. And with her stunning auburn hair and pretty green eyes, green was good and it worked.
When Jen was in preschool, some of the school moms told me about a delightful small dance school that offered classes for the little ones. It was more about games and movement and fun than about learning a routine for a recital. We enrolled Jen and after a few weeks of trepidation, she really enjoyed it. She was still very shy and I needed to stay in the waiting room every week that first year, but she had fun and that is what was important. She liked the school enough to go back for classes 2 more years until we moved from that town to where we now live.
When Jen was 6, we enrolled in her a new dance school in a neighboring town. She really loved it and now I could drop her off, go do errands and come back at the end of class. No matter how the rest of her day went, no matter how tired or cranky she might be, she always walked out of dance smiling. She loved her student teachers and started saying she wanted to do that someday. We soon nicknamed her our Dancin Darlin. She didn't walk down the hall, she leaped down the hall. When she went to grocery store with me, she twirled her way down the isles. She moved with such grace and had such agility. It delighted me because that was something I never had.
As Jen got older, she decided to try out for the competitive dance teams and before we knew it, she was taking class several days a week. Tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, toe - she loved it all. She was a natural and soon she won the 'Most Improved Student" award at her recital in June. She started student teaching and with the competitive dance teams, we were traveling to local, regional and national dance competitions and for several summers we went to Myrtle Beach for the Star Stopper's Nationals. As a freshmen in high school Jen tried out for cheer leading and made the Varsity Team on her first try - pretty impressive, but soon gave it up because she choose dance instead. It was her first love, and after school, her life revolved around dance- and that was her choice. I will never forget my awe when the curtain opened to the first number of the dance recital one year, and there, alone on the stage, with her back to the audience, was my daughter, tapping her foot, snapping her fingers and swaying her hips. She turned around, started dancing and the whole audience fel lquiet and watched. My little girl opened the show! I was so proud!
She continued to dance all through high school. A Chorus Line was one of my favortie numbers and Jen's kicks, as usual, were higher than anyone else in that kick line. Despite school work, a part time job and boyfriends, dance continued to be a huge part of her life. She even had the opportunity in the fall of her senior year to dance on a cruise to the Bahama's. Her dance team was part of the entertainment. That year she also took a private class and performed a solo performance in her last recital that June and she was stunning! It was a bitter sweet moment.
When Jen went off to college, she choose her school because of it's theater arts program and minor in dance and we once again had the thrill of watching her perform, but at a level so much more complex than anything offered at the small dance school she attended all those years. The head of the program told David and I that she was gifted. But college life, far from home, in a small town in the cold mountains didn't suit our Dancin Darlin so home she came in her junior year. Soon she was a working gal. Her dance life has been set upon a shelf for now. She still can do the splits like nobody's business and she sometimes leaps down the hall way, because she was and always will be our Dancin Darlin.
until next time - hugs, Linda