Yesterday was a very special day for Mary-Catherine (12). She was not gifted with dancer feet (hey! I gave my kids my brain, which is a far greater gift, genetically speaking (in my never-to-be-humble-opinion)), and she has spent the last more-than year and a half working toward earning her pointe shoes. On Friday, Miss Courtnie (her dance teacher) finally told her that her ankles were strong enough and that she was ready. This was the happy result:
The reason I titled this post "Joy and Sadness" is because Therese (15), while she was super happy for Mary-Catherine, and while she will remain her biggest source of encouragement (does, "Straighten those knees!" count as support?) had a little bit of a hard time yesterday. It was the first pointe shoe fitting that wasn't for her...and there will never be another pointe shoe fitting for her again. Because she has a connective tissue disorder, she can't dance en pointe anymore. In her own words, she doesn't feel safe. Essentially, her tendons and ligaments are like shredded bubblegum; they can't take the stress that pointe puts on them. She was beautiful when she danced, though, and she had talent. I guess the funny thing is that we had been trying to decide if pre-professional dance (necessitating a change of schools) was in her future, and we had been praying about it. God answered our prayers pretty deafeningly when her health took such a turn for the worse. Her body just can't handle such intensive dance.
None of which is to take anything away from Mary-Catherine who suffers endlessly from comparison to Therese. Therese got pointe shoes when she was only 10! Therese has such beautiful long dancer's lines! Therese made it to Regionals her first year of debate when she was only 12! Therese this and Therese that - she's a hard act to follow. I even blog more about Therese than about anyone (there are reasons for that - briefly, we were very blessed to get to review a product called Living My Purpose, which will post to The Old Schoolhouse blog at some point. When it does, I'll post it here. Through a series of online tests/profiles, it was confirmed that Therese is essentially my doppelganger). But Mary-Catherine is an outstanding individual. She has such compassion for Therese's struggles. She has never met a stranger. She has endured outright bullying in her own dance classes, but still wishes only the best for the very girls who treat her badly. She has the kind of personality that would have baffled me when I was 12 (heck, it still baffles me - I'm in awe of it), but that I admire so much. God has blessed me. Not once in her long odyssey toward pointe shoes did she complain. In fact, if we suggested that she could miss class (because she was sick or because the weather was bad), she would insist on going because she wanted to show her teacher how serious she was about getting her shoes. That's maturity.
In Sunday, a woman came up to us at church and asked us what happened to those four little babies we used to bring to church each week. I wish I knew! The time goes by way, way too fast...