What a weekend!

Big things happened this weekend. Saturday was a really special and important day. It was recital time. Isannah worked so hard on her ballet dance. It was the first in person, on a stage platform performance since COVID began. This was HUGE especially because the Nutcracker was cancelled and so was the summer in person recital she’s done every year. Due to COVID families were limited to one guest per show. Isannah was torn as she really wanted her dad to see her dance too. There was a little conflict since it was also Giovanni’s baseball game and Asher is assistant coach. The timing was tough but since we were limited to one guest, I confirmed a spot to be there. 

Just a couple of days before her recital strict restrictions were lifted slightly and another guest was allowed to come to her recital. Isannah was beaming with joy as this meant her dad could be there too. 

Here’s the little hiccup, Giovanni’s game was still at the same time and he needed to get there. We spoke to Giovanni to see if he felt comfortable walking through the park from the baseball fields to the entrance without us. He said he was. We had amazing baseball parents look over him during the game but he would walk to meet my parents outside the park on his own. 

This allowed Asher time to get to the recital, which he did, with plenty of time to see Isannah before she went in to get ready. Although, I was confident Giovanni could do it, as a parent so many scenarios run through your mind. 

It was recital time and the parents were allowed to enter the venue. Asher and I found our seats and I couldn’t help but just stare at Isannah. She was in position and she looked so beautiful. I can see her nerves behind her smile even through the mask she had on but that made her even more stunning. I got chills as the music began to play and her confidence was back. Her face changed and her moves were graceful. Her arms and legs carried her like an angel floating through the air. The way she moved her hands and arms was mesmerizing. I have always loved and will always love to watch her perform in ballet. 

From the twinkle twos where she began at the same ballet school until now at age 10. To see her grow and blossom through the years is an experience like no other. Watching her perform now brought images of her from 2 years leading up to this moment. I saw pictures flashing before me as you do in a movie flashback montage. The photos were so crisp and clear but in between them all I was brought back to the current recital. I was glad they did the dance twice because I didn’t want to miss a moment of it. But I was so happy to see all the images in my head as I did. The music carried me and allowed me to reminisce on all the stages of her ballet classes. It was a beautiful moment but what made it complete was looking to my left and seeing the priceless expression on my husband’s face as he watched his daughter float through the room. Once the dances were over and we were able to go up to Isannah she reached out to hug us. She was proud and so excited and we were proud and so excited for her. Pictures were taken of her, us and her ballet bestfriend. The journey they are both experiencing together will be with them wherever they go. Friendships and moments like this last a lifetime. 

As we were saying our good-byes to friends and the amazing Cobble Hill Ballet staff my mind was racing back to Giovanni. How was his game? Did he notice I wasn’t cheering at the top of my lungs and did it bother him? Did he make it across the fields and through the park to meet my parents at the entrance? How did it go and how is he feeling?

I text my mom and kept in close communication until Isannah, Asher and I arrived home. Not shortly after Giovanni walked in smiling with my parents trailing in behind him. He was so excited and told us all about being at the game on his own (without us for the first time) and how easy it was to get to where Nonna was waiting. He spoke about the game and all that happened. It was his very first time walking through the park alone. What an experience for him!

It was a Saturday filled with many things, many emotions and accomplishments. I was so proud of both. 

Let’s get to Sunday. We had to all rise bright and early for Giovanni’s make up baseball game that was initially cancelled due to rain. We had to be at the ballpark at 8:30am and on a Sunday. The sun was already bursting with heat. The heat was coming down on the players hard but they kept on going. The Imposters were losing 1-0 until Giovanni was up at bat. First swing was a strike, second a ball, the third went to him and he swung with all his might. Contact and a hit to first base driving home a run. Although Giovanni was out at first he tied the game. A runner came in and it was 1-1. The excitement and cheers filled the park. We have a great team, coaches and parents. The energy is always so alive and supportive. 

Giovanni’s next at bat was a strong hit. He got to first and I can see his face was lighting up even through his mask. He was ready to go. After stealing second and third he was waiting for his team to bring him home which they did. I believe this was one of Giovanni’s best at bats. 

It was a beautiful weekend. The weather was great. The people we encountered and met along the way were comforting and the kids were motivating, inspiring, happy and supportive which made us proud. 

Special thanks to the family and friends that made this weekend possible so we didn’t miss moments that will be carried and lift us in memories throughout our journey.

The Spanish Dance

Every year around this time Isannah performs in the Nutcracker for Cobble Hill Ballet. Leading up to this time she gets so excited and begins talking about what part she will play when she auditions. Every year she tells me how much closer she is to auditioning for the part of Clara. In her ballet school you have to be a certain age to audition for Clara. And boy has she been counting the years. 

This year with all that is going on with COVID they are unable to perform the Nutcracker at the theater. Isannah was really sad about it but still happy that her ballet school was coming up with a plan to bring the Nutcracker to their students. Classes were given a dance to work on and Isannah’s class was doing the Spanish Dance.

She would sneak in her room and practice in private so she wouldn’t ruin the surprise for us. She was pretty giddy and the smiles were real as she left her room. Those smiles are definitely needed right now. Anything that can keep her smiling makes me happy. Her love for ballet is definitely one of them. 

This year the costumes weren’t distributed. The girls in her class were able to create or use something they had that was red. They could make it all up as long as the costume made them feel comfortable and happy to perform. 

It took Isannah quite a while to figure out what she was wearing and how she wanted to style her hair. It all finally came together and she was happy with her selection. 

On the day of her performance, her nerves set in. She was nervous but in an excited happy way. She quickly got dressed and was ready for me to apply some make up. She had been looking forward to wearing red lipstick. Sadly, there was no point in wearing lipstick when her lips would be hiding behind a face mask. 

The time had come to make our way to ballet. As we were walking out the door Isannah turned to me and said, “everyone usually comes to see me in the Nutcracker. Bubbe and Bubba come to visit all the way from Chicago. Nonna, Nonno and everyone else is excited to see me. This time no one will be there to take pictures, to cheer or to wave to me from the audience. It will just be me and my friends in class.” I could tell she was beginning to feel a little down. I quickly changed the subject to something that could bring her joy again. After all, her ballet school was recording the performance to be able to share it with family members and friends. We are all very much looking forward to watching her performance together.  

This year we were missing a lot of family. The excitement of the audience cheering. The waves and screams of support and love. The rushing around to get her to all her shows on time and the many flowers she would be presented with. 

We missed a lot but we still had a happy ballerina working hard to perform her heart out which she did. 

This is my beautiful ballerina.