Monday, August 10, 2015

Hi Again

It's been a couple weeks again.  Some of what I've been thinking and feeling and observing just seems like a lot of repetition.  Ups and downs, more good than bad, yadda yadda.  And there are times where what I'm wanting to write about seems like stuff I've already written about, but my memory is crap, so I no longer can figure out what I wrote about here, posted on Facebook, or just talked to friends about.  It all seems like the same thing.

shh...the show's about to start
Emma had her performance of Annie Jr.  It was really good.  Like...REALLY.  I was telling my mother that we've been doing this since Emma was 6, and she said, "Has it really been that long?" so we started counting backward through the years...

2015 Annie Jr.
2014 High School Musical
2013 Hairspray (and Peter Pan Jr.)
2012 Legally Blonde
2011 101 Dalmations
2010 Charlie Brown
2009 Jungle Book

the full cast
And I guess because the productions are age-based you'd expect them to get better and better the older the kids get.  And they have.  This was far and away the best production we've watched Emma in.  The ensemble sang "Hard Knock Life" and the whole time I was thinking..."this is as good as the version I've heard recorded."  It really was.  Some of the performers (predominantly girls) are developing their own areas of specialty.  Where Emma is sort of a Jill of all trades, a few of the girls are competitive dancers, and the production made use of those sorts of skills, incorporating them where appropriate.  It was very very entertaining.

Emma as "Lily"
Emma was Emma.  She possesses a gift for comedic timing, and she is very at home on stage.  Her part of "Easy Street" was clear and in-tune and lovely.  I always worry about those first few notes, but there was nothing to fear.  She was dead on.

She struggled the week leading into the performance, though.  She was very nervous.  Felt unprepared.  Really appeared uneasy.  And I tried talking to her about it.  I tried to help her with the idea of compartmentalizing.  I think she has that tool in her toolbox already, but I thought maybe I'd try to reinforce it a bit.

Her thing:  I just want it to be a good show.

"Emma, you need to worry about your performance.  Only yours.  Make your performance the absolute best it can be.  Know your part, know your dance, know your positions.  You don't worry about the rest of the performers.  Let the director do that.  Your job is just to worry about you.  His job is to worry about all of you."

And I think she mostly got that.  I told her to focus on those things that were within her control.  To figure out everything she could improve or alter.  Anything she could directly impact.  And everything else, she just needed to put away in a box inside her brain so that she could get some sleep.  So she could relax when she steps away from the stage.

I wondered too if maybe mommy not being there had something to do with it.  And we talked about it one evening.  We shared some tears in her room at bed time.  It's hard knowing that a lot of the reason she is participating in CLO at all is because her mother was so passionate about making sure she had opportunities to get on stage if that was what she wanted.

And so I told her a bit about some weirdness I've been experiencing.  More of that type stuff.  And let me back up for a minute to sort of explain myself, because I've been thinking about it for a couple weeks.  If you follow the blog relatively closely, then you know that I shared my weird feeling about being happy about being sad and being sad about being happy.  Just that while I'm grieving for Leslie I've been doing this...weird...finishing projects thing.

There are all these things that Leslie and I talked about doing...hardwood on the stairs and hallways, putting together a will, starting a special needs trust for Lily, figuring out our retirement, setting up Emma's 529 plan.  And I've been doing all of them.  And not just that, but trying to keep our room clean and the bed made every day and trying to keep the counter clean of dishes for the following morning, changing the bedding...all stuff she used to nag the shit out of me to do...I'm doing.

And so on the one hand, I feel like Leslie would be all..."Wow, Jim, you're really doing a nice job with the house." and on the other hand I feel like Leslie would be all, "I had to DIE for you to change the fucking sheets?"

Except Leslie wouldn't say that because she was a lady of breeding.  Still.  It's weird to think that all the things she used to be forced to bug me to do, I'm really careful about doing.  And I justify it to myself that it's Leslie's voice, or Leslie's influence, or it's an homage to Leslie that it's all getting done.  And that's part of it.  But I think the other more practical part is that I literally KNOW that Leslie won't be picking up after me, so if I don't want to live in squalor, I have to do that stuff.

Okay, so back to Emma.  I know she was sad about mommy not being there to see her in Annie.  God...she'd have been SO proud, and there were many times during the performance that I felt my eyes well up thinking about how much Leslie would have loved to see I told Emma, "Em, every time that you and I do something that we know mommy would have wanted us to do, or that we know she enjoyed doing with us, or that she had fun watching us do, we honor her memory.  It's like remembering her and remembering her love and letting that memory guide our actions and shape our lives.  And when we do that, we include her in our lives even though she's passed."  I explained to her that I know it still sucks.  And I know it's still not the same...that it can't be the same.  But I tried to explain to her about me and the housework and redoing the stairway and explaining that every time I do all the little things that Leslie always harped on me to to, every time I finish a project that Leslie always wanted to finish, every time I go enjoy time with friends like she always encouraged me to do...I'm remembering Leslie's voice.  I'm honoring Leslie's memory.

And even though Leslie wasn't going to be sitting in a chair next to me at the performance, I told her that I believe she'd be watching Emma perform if Emma wanted her to watch her perform...and that doing her best to put on a good show would be a nice way to honor mommy's memory, and listen to her mother's voice in HER head.

Meanwhile, Lily has been a bit off lately.  Defiant.  Anxious.  And it's difficult to tell whether it's related to:  summer, her mom passing, growing up, etc.  The BSC is looking at the data trying to help us figure it all out.  She seems happy enough most of the time, but lots more "noes" than I'm accustomed to.

Anyway.  Sorta dry stuff.

Less dry...

Friday Tryday was more or less a success.  A friend did caution me not to make Emma feel like she was solely responsible for the variety of our menu, and after mulling it over, I talked to Emma about it and explained to her that I hadn't meant to put the weight of our eating variety on her.  And then I relaxed Tryday to every other week (this week...chicken wings).  But the first Tryday was a success...fried fish.  Not horrible.  Actually sort of liked it. 

And, not wanting to be outdone, Lily ate baby back ribs that I slow cooked.  I stripped the meat from the bones for her, and didn't add barbecue sauce, but she ate everything I gave her.  I was amazed.

What else...

Oh! Emma's Aunt Lauren was in town for Pappy's birthday, so Emma and Aunt Lauren made some Adventuretime (mostly) themed cupcakes.  I think they turned out great!

Finally...the newspaper did a story about the volunteers at Glade Run (where Emma volunteers).  They had a little slide show that accompanied the online article, and there were several pictures of Emma included.  One of them...(this gem below)...I'm having blown up and framed for our home.



  1. What a beautiful and talented girl! I love the sneeze shot.

  2. Love your post, makes me get all teary eyedc. Sounds like your doing a great job keeping up with everything. Also, love that pic of your daughter and the horse. Glade Run is great, we used to take our horses up there for fundraising rides and such.

  3. Wow...Emma reminds me alot of Leslie in that top picture. What a beautiful girl. Keeping you and your girls in my prayers.

  4. Wow...Emma reminds me alot of Leslie in that top picture. What a beautiful girl. Keeping you and your girls in my prayers.