Tag Archives: graduation

Empty chairs…

This theatre season, my cast worked through enormous obstacles to perform Les Miserables.

And then .. on opening night?

Covid-19 starting shutting down all assembling of groups.

So 10 weeks of hard work.. and the kids were only allowed to perform for their families. The cast was heartbroken… but they wiped their tears… and performed an awe-inspiring opening night.

I could NOT have been more proud.

For me?

This experience is a little surreal…

Surreal in the sense that everything was so different from where we were 2 weeks ago. 2 weeks ago, I was reminding the kids to hang up their costumes and to clean up their own messes.. and to turn in tee shirt money.

And today… I am JUST praying that each of my cast members stays safe and healthy..

And alive…

But it is also surreal for me in the sense… that ALL of my life I have been studying Plagues and epidemics .. and pandemics. The Black Death.. the Spanish flu (that started in The US)… siege sicknesses, the viruses that wiped out the Natives, etc..

Not so much for the illnesses or the deaths… because death and suffering saddens me…

…but how those illnesses.. and the fear… and the chaos affected the people. And how those effects changed the course of history.

How poor people could suddenly own land…

…How our children still sing “Ring around the rosies”.. to ward off evil spirits…

And here we are… smack in the middle of what WILL BECOME history. Someday, kids will be studying about the Covid-19 pandemic of 2019.. and wonder how the “population coped with the terror” and the isolation..

I wonder if the history books will tell how we had a shortage of toilet paper… and no shortage of the conspiracy theories?

Or will the future history books say that the “population” learned from the history books of the past? Will the history books state how we all chose to obey isolation and quarantined ourselves at home?

Will the history books say how we banded together to give each other hope for a future?

Because we WILL have a future.

Even the worst plagues… the survivors dusted off their hats.. picked up the pieces of their lives.. and made a future for themselves.

And little by little?

We learned from them. From the survivors. We learned to wash our hands. We learned to quarantine ourselves if we have been exposed. We learned not to panic.. and not to take the virus to the next town in our panic.

We HAVE so much knowledge at our fingertips THANKS to the records and observations kept of those pandemics in history.

Because we have learned from our history? We find ourselves in quarantine BEFORE it gets too bad. We find ourselves bored and creating funny memes about isolation “cabin fever”.. while we wait for the virus to run it’s course.

But … we will ALSO find ourselves with a better future.

A future that MAY hold graduations later in the summer. A future with delayed vacations.. delayed celebrations ..

A future with strange new school routines.

A future that has changed us all in small ways…

For me? I’m praying that my future has our cast performing Les Miserables when the crisis is over.

And I’m praying that when we hear Marius sing about empty chairs and empty tables… that there are no empty chairs in our community..

I’m praying there are no empty chairs in our cast…

And I’m definitely praying that we did our part enough.. that I won’t have ANY empty chairs in my family.

But even if we never hear our cast sing a song rejoicing in “one day more”… ?

I’m happy that our nation and our schools gave them their best chance at being able to sing another day.

Stay safe everyone! And God be with you!

On her own… 

Once upon a time.. About 13 1/2 years ago.. a little girl (with lots of curls) headed off to her first day of kindergarten. 

And like EVERYthing in her life? Yup! She wanted to do it on her own. 

She did NOT want me to drive her to school that first day.

She did NOT want me to walk her into her class and help her get settled.

She wanted to ride the bus like EVERYone did.. 

She wouldn’t even let me hold her hand.. 

I was a little hurt I guess.. I do make plans in my head.. You know those plans, right? Plans on how to be the best mom.. 

But neither me nor my husband were suprised that she simply announced she would have none of my plans.. 

Why? Well you see.. Everything in her life until that point had been the same.. 

When she was 3 weeks old? She simply refused to let me rock her to sleep anymore. She wanted to be put in her crib so she could go to sleep ON HER OWN.. 

At 6 months? She clamped her mouth shut.. Refusing to be fed anymore. She wanted to do it ON HER OWN. 

Doing puzzles? She would gently move my hand away.. She didn’t want any help. 

Now this “on her own” attitude did get her in trouble.. Because it often slipped into.. “Let me do it my way”… 

Lol.. Once that attitude had her preschool teacher telling me she’s be better off with younger kids.. My beautiful, smart, strong willed girl…. was demoted to a younger class.. 

.. and well? Let’s just say her ballet teacher was so relieved when we moved to Missouri before recital.. I guess having my girl “co-teach” the class (only when she felt the teacher was being boring) wasn’t as fun as it sounded.. 

Sigh.. Honestly I knew how the dance teacher felt.. I wondered often why my daughter couldn’t just do it my way FOR ONCE.. 

Last night my daughter gave a speech at graduation.. as Valedictorian. That same stubborn pride.. The same frustrating determination to do things her own way.. ??


It would keep my daughter up until the WEE hours of the morning doing homework after a long night of Musical practice. 

It would have my daughter going the extra distance to do a project the way she wanted.. Which was often more than her teacher had asked for. 

Yes .. My daughter’s determination to do things ON HER OWN and in her OWN WAY.. is the very reason she made it to the top of her class .. 

So even when I retell stories of her childhood around the fire.. Tales of her stubbornness and the frustration I had endured… And laughing  until I have tears in my eyes.. 

.. Even when  I act like it was awful..  I am actually so very proud of the young lady she has become…

.. and I don’t really worry about her future.. I know she will get there ON HER OWN timing and in her own way.. 

Luckily I have God in our corner.. Watching out for her along the way.. because it’s going to be great. 

Skin deep… 

I don’t write about my daughter a lot.. Probably because I prefer to tell her tales of “terror” around the campfire … Where we can all laugh until we cry.. 

You see? The “legal adult” you all see before you? The beautiful, polite, smart, sweet, politically correct, top scholar? She was once a beautiful, smart, sassy, stubborn, strong willed, test-every-rule kind of girl… 

Yup.. 

I was so glad she out grew that Last year… 

All kidding aside? She has always been a great kid to raise.. (Except that time when she accused a kind old gentleman of trying to kidnap her.. Or the time she tipped the bookshelf over.. Sigh.. Or the time she screamed in the store bathroom that the dinosaurs were going to eat her.. Sigh.. Or the time she dumped all the shampoo, conditioner and body soap into the bathwater as an “experiment”… )

Ok .. Ok.. There were times that I questioned my ability to parent this child successfully.. 

And I think THAT is one of the reasons I don’t write about my daughter as much as my son.. 

I made a ton of mistakes.. 

One of the worst was the day my daughter told me she KNEW she wasn’t pretty.. 

Frustrated I asked her how she could KNOW that she wasn’t.. 

Her answer?

She stated (very matter-of-factly).. “Because YOU have never told me that I was pretty. Everyone knows that mothers ALWAYS think their children are beautiful no MATTER what .. So if my own mother doesn’t tell me I’m pretty.. Then I must be pretty ugly.” 

I remember my world froze in that moment.. 

After a moment of silence, my daughter shrugged her shoulders like the whole thing was no big deal.. 

… it WAS a big deal to me.. 

But it was also true.. 

Why? 

Why wouldn’t I tell my daughter she was beautiful? 

Well… This world is so hung up on our girls BEING beautiful.. That I wanted to emphasize everything that was below the surface with my girl.. Her intelligence.. Her kindness.. Her empathic heart.. Her natural leadership .. Her imagination… 

I wanted her to like who she WAS on the inside no matter what her outside looked like.. 

I was too intent on keeping her confident, humble and successful… And kind..

But in that moment I knew I had failed.. 

Every child likes to feel cherished by their mother.. And I had not given that need a thought.. 

So with tears in my heart (and in my eyes), I told her I thought she was the most beautiful girl .. And that I also thought she was beautiful for the girl she IS on the inside.. I explained that I hadn’t told her she was beautiful because I didn’t want her to think Beauty was the most important thing.. 

I told her I made a mistake.. That I should have told her both.. 

And then I hugged that beautiful girl to me.. 

I don’t know why God trusted me with this strong willed, stubborn, beautiful girl to raise.. 


But what a Blessing that He did…