{tiny dancer}

Friday’s are for ballet, for my middle that is. She’s only been in ballet for a couple of weeks now, but I am already seeing that it is proving to be an excellent fit for her at the moment.

She tried gymnastics because she wanted to be in class with her big sister, but we quickly realized she was so little and doesn’t have quite the same drive for gymnastics as her sister does. I thought back to the days we first tried out classes for our oldest and it hit me. Ballet. That seems like the perfect place for this dainty little girl to start.

Of course she was thrilled when I told her I would sign her up for ballet class. She pulled out her tutu that her sister once wore and found the pink ballet shoes and starting dreaming of the day she would wear that very same outfit her sister did.

Two weeks in I thought she was going to quit. She had a run-in with dancer, literally speaking. They collided and hit heads hard enough to leave a goose egg on her forehead. There were tears, lots of them. After some quick snuggles and the promise of ice for her forward after class, she hopped back into the dance room.

The class environment is good for her. It provides her with some structure and interaction with other three year olds. It gives her a break from life at home an hour a week. It gives me time to sit with Bernadette and work on feeding just outside of the room. It’s good for all of us.

This morning marked the end of the first session. All of the parents get to come into the class and watch. It’s my favorite part about ballet. The black chairs are lined up perfectly on the side of the dance floor. The blue mats are set up towards the back of the room, facing the mirrors in the front.

I sat down with Berni in the carrier, set my bag and her pink snow boots she wore to dance on the floor beneath me and watched as she stretched her tiny legs out. Arms up and around, toes pointed, and stretch. Her face was beaming as she looked at one of the other dancers and told her about her baby sister sitting in my lap.

The music started. The tiny dancers in their pink ballet shoes and tutus of varying colors got up and started following the instructor around the room. Tears started welling up in the corners of my eyes.

It hit me, all of the sudden and completely unexpectedly. I sat in this very room two whole years ago, only this little girl I was watching dance around me was the little baby I held in my lap as her older sister danced across the room to very same music.

Two years ago, I sat in that room holding that girl still in my lap with one hand as my other hand rubbed my growing belly where Bernadette’s very body was being formed. But the tears I was fighting back then were not the same tears I was fighting back now.

It was this time almost exactly two years I had just found out there was something going on with my unborn baby, unexpected and out of my control. I didn’t know all the details yet and that very morning I had been waiting for a phone call from one of the specialists. It was the cardiology department, needing to schedule me in for the first fetal echo.

It was the very beginning of our journey with our sweet Bernadette. I knew so little back then. I had no answers as I sat there and watched my oldest glide gracefully across the floor, her energy overpowering the room as I sat there feeling completely lifeless, my eyes watching her but unable to be fully present emotionally. Nerves filled my stomach as I looked around the room wondering if anyone would notice.

Those parents were only focused on their own ballerina, not the pregnant mom who looked like she hadn’t slept for the past few days, whose eyes were red and swollen that no amount of makeup could hide.

Here I was this morning, two whole years later, with Bernadette sitting on my very lap my middle sat. It was her turn to sit and observe, to keep entertained while the tiny dancers excitedly participated in their class.

I watched as my middle pointed her toe out of first position and I could almost see my oldest in the exact same spot her toe pointed. Arm up, pink tutu fluttering with the movement as she went from one end of the room to the other.

I once again started to fight back the tears. I looked down at Bernadette, completely content in my lap watching her sister closely. Here she was, heart fully repaired, sitting in my lap. The short two years that have passed in between have felt like an entire lifetime, both physically and emotionally. She has been through so much, I have been through so much. Yet, here we are. Together. Fighting through obstacles, one day at a time.

I continued to watch my middle intently as she listened to her teacher telling her how to stand in first position. Her attention to the details reminded me of how her sister was not like that as much. Her sister has a need for speed and ballet seemed to be not at her pace. But for my middle, at least for now, it is her pace.

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