I volunteer for a community organization that links people who need a little help with folks who can provide a little help. This year I was asked if I could give a little girl a ride to dance class because her mother is blind. They live very close to where I work, and she goes to dance studio where my girls went, right around the corner. So once a week, I pick up 5 year old Becca, walk her into the dance studio, help her put on her dance shoes, and then return to pick her up. Easy.
This week when I took Becca home, her mom asked if I could come in for a few minutes. Then she told me that Becca had a present for me. She asked me to sit while Becca disappeared and then returned with a DVD player, a little tutu over her leotard, reindeer antlers on her head and began to perform her own dance to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Very, very sweet.
I remember the elaborate productions my girls used to conjure up. They would give us admissions tickets and usher us to own front row, living room seats. They would create costumes from all their various princess/ dress up paraphernalia. And then they would dance. Making up their own choreography, dancing with abandon and giggling joy. I used to love these personal performances, so much more than their formal dance recitals.
As I watched Becca leap and twirl, I also noticed her mom. Sitting, smiling at her daughter who she could not see. I can’t even imagine what that must be like. When the dance was over, I stood and clapped and cheered, as did her mom. It was a wonderful, delightful gift.
When I went home I pulled out old home videos and watched my own daughters. I watched them dance. I watched them play various sports. I watched their numerous accomplishments, large and small. And all I could think about was what it must be like to experience your kids growing up when you can’t actually see them growing up. The birthday parties, riding a bike, scoring the winning goal, the prom dresses, the receiving of a diploma.
I generally start each day with a prayer for all I have to be thankful for. This week I received a gift. And I realize that I haven’t even scratched the surface of what I have to be grateful for.