My Favorite Parts…


Recital 2016 12 yrs old /

Dance Recital 12 yrs old 2016


This past weekend was Natalie’s annual dance recital. She’s 12 now and we began this dancing adventure when she was 3. What began with a few classes of Ballet has blossomed into Jazz, Contemporary and Ballet. It has been fun to watch her confidence and skill level grow over the years. We went through a season when she was 7 where she wasn’t so sure she wanted to do this anymore but by age 10 she had fallen in love with it and no longer does she walk but rather glides and twirls wherever she goes.

I have two favorite traditions in this whole recital world. This first is on recital day when we are getting her ready and I get a photo of her from behind with the reflection of the mirror while she is applying make up. I have one from every recital since she 1st began to try her hand at doing some of it herself. I love these photos because they capture the special moment of intense concentration mixed with excitement and a little bit of pressure. It’s the calm before the storm. It’s always been her and my moment. We laugh, joke and slather on more make up, we get frustrated and short with each other, appologize and then slather on more make up. (She will one day realize that although I had good intentions, I was really not very good at the whole costume make up thing. It’s one more thing we can laugh about somewhere down the road.)

This photo is from last weekend and was taken in the green room at the performance hall while she was getting ready along with the other dancers.

Recital 2016 12 yrs old /

Dance Recital 2016 12 yrs old

She was bumped up a level this year and was allowed to get ready in the room with the more experienced dancers. All the previous years we got ready at home and then did the final touches once we arrived. Not anymore.  I am now faced with the reality that these get ready to roll moments are going to be shared with her dancing friends. They will help each other with makeup and hair and squeal with delight and anticipation with all that is about to happen. I love it. I hate it. I am learning how not to hover but still be available if she needs me. My little girl is growing up and now mommy has to grow up a bit as well and allow her daughter to spread her wings and create dancing memories that don’t include so much mommy time. I love that she is independent and confident in who she is and what she feels like is right for her. I love that we are able to have more real conversations about life, God and things that matter. I love who she is becoming and how she expresses herself in such an artistic way. I hate that in so many ways she doesn’t really need me anymore. It’s a delicate balance trying to figure out how to be around but not in the way, to be available but not too available. I have a tendency to be a smootherer (just ask Mr. Wonderful!) and she is definitely not one that likes smothering. Fortunately for now I am still a welcome face in the background in case of emergencies… I’ll take whatever I can get.

This is my other favorite tradition…

It’s after the performance and daddy quietly walks over to her and they have their moment. He in his quiet way unobtrusively and with no fanfare whispers in her ear that he loves her, that he is proud of her and kisses her on the cheek. I think I am the only one who ever sees it but I know it’s coming so I always have the camera ready. I love capturing the moment because it’s the purest vision of how much they love each other. I love watching my husband love our daughter. I love that it’s different than my approach and that they have a bond that only the two of them share.

Recital 2013 9 yrs old /

Recital 2013 9 yrs old

Next week Nat and I are going on a road trip from Coos Bay to San Diego to visit family. My prayer is that we will create some fabulous memories together. Me in my loud talkative way and her in her quiet yet expressive way. Both of us giving space to the other to be who we are no matter where the road takes us. I love being her mom and I thank God that he has given me the gift of raising her. I am a better person for it.

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  1. Chris Williford says

    Wow! Where has the time gone? She gets more beautiful by the day!

  2. Sandy Mitts says

    I hope Nat holds on to this writing. When she is 50 it will mean so much to her. Knowing how much my Mom loved me warms my heart. She is growing up so fast. Guess if I had taken dance I would know how to put on makeup. I was more into cowboys and Indians so I actually can put on war paint.

  3. We have the most beautiful girls on earth she’s such a little lady, however growing up to fast for me you no
    we love to keep them like they are. Then they grow up and head out to take on the world and she will be a
    success in what ever she does. We love her vary much and our praying for her that God will always direct her
    Grandpa and Grandma Wartenbee

  4. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
    This is so so beautiful.

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