I thought I would have kids one day, but the longer I was married and the more I enjoyed doing all I was doing, I thought," Maybe that's not for me." So I lived my life and enjoyed all the wonderful musical things that I was able to do. And then it happened on a day in September. I was doing my normal "power walk" up and down the hills of Bentwater in North Atlanta and it hit me. I wanted to share my love and passion for the arts with more than just those I minister with and to each week. I wanted a part of me to experience it. I wanted to have a child and share every bit of my life with them.I wanted to play a part, but not THE part.
So, Sydney comes into my life and we have enjoyed her first 5 years to the max. Our almost 2 years in NYC allowed us to do SO many artistic things together at museum and preschool music classes. It was amazing. But now, school fills her days. And I make every effort to weave arts and music into her life as much as I can. Sydney decided this fall to start playing the piano. Since she has started to read in school, it all clicked for her. I can't tell you the joy of being able to sit and play the duet part on Christmas songs with her. Probably just like my mom felt when she did it with me!
Sydney joined The Hilton Head Dance School this year after having two great years at Bluffton School of Dance. We made the move for several reasons, but mainly because of Sydney's love of ballet. Every year for the past 24 years, The Hilton Head Dance Theatre has presented The Nutcracker on Hilton Head Island. It is in every way, an Island tradition. The 5 yr-old classes were cooks. Yes, Sydney was thrilled since that it was she has told us 2 years ago that she wants to be when she grows up (Todd is already planning to open a restaurant with her one day!) I was the class mom for one of the two performances that she was in last week. Todd and I attended the other one. For three hours, I helped corral 10 five year-olds to be ready for their 5 minutes in the show. Now, you may be thinking, "All of that for 5 minutes?" The entire process is what is important. Getting dressed, make-up, hair, getting into character, getting your props (she has a spoon!), the excitement of being around great dancers of all ages, and then having that moment to be out there. Sydney came alive. Her smile was non-stop even when she was so tired in the green room waiting for the curtain call. I was merely a spectator that night - adjusting costumes and saying "SHHHH" a thousand times when we were back stage. But for me, I got so much more joy out of watching Sydney be an artist in her own 5-year old way than any gig I've played, song I have sung, or song I have written.
We took her to dinner at Eastern Restuarant. Her choice...she wanted fried rice. We all got dressed up. Sydney asked Todd to wear a tie so he would be "handsome." Sydney's ballet teacher, Katie Girardi, was also having dinner at Eastern with Karena and John Carlyle, the founders of the Dance School, and others. We walked over to say hello and everyone at the table made Sydney feel as if the night was entirely for her. Katie has been so patient with Sydney as she had a few tough classes in the beginning of the year. The gratitude that I felt in that moment toward these fellow artists and how they were encouraging my daughter - more than words can express.
Sydney did great once again as we watched from the audience. Her daddy met her at the stage door after she had changed with 12 beautiful pink roses. The show closed the next day for this year, but the greatest part for me? We've only just begun...