There are many days when I stare at my girl with pride and joy filling me up (the day she sat on the counter and helped me bake - pouring and stirring as best as she could, chatting all the while), but nothing beats how proud I was of her last week.
It started on Tuesday. I'd was missing Clare pretty badly, having been at rehearsal or work much of Sunday and Monday. I convinced Rob to let me bring Clare to the theatre for an hour while we were getting ready for our run-through. When I first brought her in, she was tentative and shy, as she often is. We went to the dressing room where the girls were fawning over her. She hid her face. That is, until Sarah and ML asked about her shoes. Then began the evening long chat with the ladies about shoes, playing with the various keys, ID badges, and purses that everyone had around. Starting to relax, she even let me leave her with folks she didn't know. She watched me go and didn't make a fuss at all. From there, we went upstairs for warm-up. I wasn't sure she'd even let me put her down. But there we were, all 30 dancers and Clare on the stage. The lights were on and the movement started and that was all it took for Clare to become completely herself (at least, the crazy, funny, outgoing self that I see at home). If we waved our arms around, so did she. If we clapped our hands, so did she. If we moved our feet, so did she. And the entire time, she wore a big grin, giggled, laughed, shouted her own kind of song. I can't even explain the raw joy and utter glee that she was expressing. She was laughing so much it was almost like she was being tickled.
As if that wasn't enough to make me smile, Clare attended the Sunday matinee and was a fantastic audience member. When she first saw me, she shouted out for 'Mumma' and tried to reach out for me, but she quickly settled in. I watched her a bit from the wings, eyes as wide as saucers, mouth open, completely absorbed in watching the movement and hearing the actors, and just taking it all in. She clapped for the dancers (and especially hard for Mumma), cheered on the parts she especially liked, waved to the dancers on the stage, and again wore that classic Clare grin - the really big one! She's not quite 18 months old and she managed to sit through almost an entire 2.5 hour show. She only missed the last two numbers (Rob says she got a bit fidgety after Auntie Kelly called out to her from the wings, wanting to go back there to see her)
After the show, she waved and talked to the other dancers and her friends who were in the audience (Uncle Kevin and Aunti Su especially, which is fantastic 'cause she was previously scared of Kev). She joined me in the dressing room to 'help' me clean up and gave Nao a big hug. She walked around down there like she half owned the place!
I guess this whole long story is about the theatre and what it's meant to me all these years and just how excited I am that Clare also seems to be comfortable and confident there. Not that I think it means anything about her future really. It just made me so so proud. There's just no better thing in the world that seeing your beautiful little girl wave at you from the front row - happy to watch you dance for her.
Talk to you soon,