Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Berit's "Best Night Ever."

Last night, as we were running through a parking garage, Berit said, "Mom, this is my favorite part of the night."

We were singing "Let's go to the movies..." from the movie Annie while we ran from our car to DeVos Hall, where we were to see The Lord of the Dance.

Berit has long been enamored with Irish dancing, ever since she saw it on a kids' program. She's tried doing it for the past year or so in the living room, and routinely asks when she'll learn. Our local program starts the kids at 5, so she's waiting. She claims to love it even more than ballet.

So when I saw that Grand Rapids was hosting The Lord of the Dance, I bought tickets. It was exactly how I hoped it would be, and instead of watching the show, I watched her face. It wasn't just that she was enthralled, caught up, totally into it. She was at home. I had wondered if she'd be aching to dance on the sidelines or would be over it in about an hour, but she sat on my lap, spine straight up, never relaxing, just... existing with it. Not exclaiming (though there were questions, as I had invented a storyline to explain the "pirates" and the hooded figures holding torches and the fight scenes), not moving her feet (though she did try, once, to move them as quickly as the show's star and realized that, of course she can). She just sat up, for two hours, and studied everything.

There were two bits of comic relief. When a singer came onstage in a long evening gown, Berit was enchanted by her air of loveliness (though the singing? Oddly not great) and during a pause in her song, when the room was completely quiet, she said loudly, "Her lips are as red as a rose!"

And later, during a STRIPTEASE, the girls tore off their dresses to reveal black undergarments and another lull in music carried my motherly "Oh MY" right through the hall.

Afterward in the car, when I asked if she wanted to watch a movie as we started our long drive home, she first requested Sleeping Beauty (which she insists we call "Aurora") but then decided she didn't want anything with scary people and asked for Mary Poppins. I said, "Are you feeling a little silly inside from the pirates?" And she said "Yes, that really is how I feel." And later, "Mom, I'm still feeling silly from those pirates." So we talked about the dancers, how one stuck his tongue out to prove he was really pretending, how at the end they took their masks off and danced and laughed. Then she was OK and went to sleep.

The real gem of the night, though, didn't happen at the show. It was the turnout beforehand, at dinner. My family will think I'm the one being silly but when they met us for dinner -- my whole family, my mom and dad, brother and sister -- I was completely touched. I live three hours away, and they all live within an hour of one another. I miss them terribly. Knowing that they would all get together just because I came to town for a few hours was so important. They fawned over Berit of course, and I talked too loudly and made stupid jokes to cover how weepy I felt by having everyone together, all dressed lovely for a special dinner. I know they go out for fancy nights and it's not a big deal, but it was for me. I don't do that these days. I don't get dressed up, order appetizers and desserts and cocktails and have people put napkins on my lap. I show up and ask my dad for some cash for the parking garage, that's what I do. And I could, because he was there and my dad, not three hours away. Oh this is funny and stupid, but I've got tears writing it. Maybe some of you will understand. There's just something about knowing your family is there. Anyway.

Berit fell asleep at midnight, and while she slept in her carseat, she sang.

1 comment:

Candace said...

I TOTALLY know what you mean. :-)