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Gabbi's first dance class, September 2001. She was 3 and not terribly excited about me taking her pic, if you didn't already notice that.

I am a professional recital mom. NINE of them as a mom. Several as a child. I love recitals. L O V E them. I really do, no sarcasm there. The lead-up to recital I'm not as crazy about, but actual recital night? Love it. I love the smell of hairspray and the frantic preparing for any tights emergency that might come up. To this day, if I smell spray paint, I remember being a child at recital and having spray-painted shoes. (I'm guessing that's not done anymore. I never had to spray paint any of the girls shoes!)

Madelyn's first recital, Gabbi's second year at Excel.

Last night we went to a friend's recital. It reminded me a lot of our first recital. Gabbi was three years old, we lived in Bryan, TX, and she took dance at Suzanne's School of Dance. HUGE dance school. H U G E! Suzanne was a godly lady who looked at her school as a ministry. Our only experience with her was in the tots class, but it was apparent that she loved those kids! She prayed over them and got to know them (no simple feat because there were so many of them!) and just loved them.

Recital, 2006

Gabbi's first recital ... she was 3. I have never once watched the video without tearing up. The tots class was separated into three groups of about 25 kids each. Each group came on, did their dance, and then skipped off so the next group could come in. 75 three year olds. Got that in your mind? 25 in red, 25 in white, 25 in blue. (It was 2002, patriotic themed recital.) Gabbi's group was on, and they were doing what tots do. Skip, go over positions, chausse, lots of little girls moving all over the stage. Gabbi's group was supposed to get into groups of two or three and chausse to the back, and then back to the front. This would have worked out perfectly had they come out on stage in the proper order. They didn't. So, when the girls got into groups, one little girl was left out of her group. All the groups chausse'd to the back and one little girl was standing at the front by herself. This was my sweet girl. I have not a single doubt in my mind that if it had been my second girl, she would have done her own little dance there, accepting the spotlight and reveling in it. Girl number one though, she had a little panic. Her group looked around and said "hey, we're supposed to have three and we only have two!" and ran up, holding hands, and grabbed Gabbi and pulled her back. You could see the relief on Gabbi's face. It really was so sweet! The audience clapped for her.

Recital, 2007

So now, all these years later, my girls had what was probably their last recital. I cried, I admit it. Looking particularly at my big girl, remembering that three year old and yet seeing a confident and beautiful girl who didn't miss a step ... amazing. And then my younger girl ... who has not had a fabulous year in dance this year. She pulled it together and did great at recital. As I suspected, recital made her change from hating dance to wanting to take again. That child LOVES the stage!

And 2008 - I called this the C3PO costume.

We've had lots of dance instructors through the years - Suzanne, Miss "Bessany", Ms. Sandy, Ms. Delania, Ms. Terri, Ms. Kathryn, Ms. Abby, and mostly Ms. Kayla - who taught Madelyn for the whole six years she took dance. Every single one has made an impact on our lives, and we are thankful for each and every one!

2009, I think this was dress rehearsal

I'll bet I'm going to be really sad this time next year to not have sequins to glue on or costumes that need to be stapled together or short bangs that somehow need to be stuck into a bun. In some aspects, it will be a relief, but in others ... I'm really going to miss it!

Recital (dress rehearsal again), 2010

These are just random pics on my computer. My scanner hates me and the first couple of years were taken with a film camera. I wish I could show you how precious Gabbi was at her first recital!

eta: ROFL~!! As my dad pointed out, he sent me a couple of pics from my dancer days! Because I didn't have my hideous glasses on in either of these pics, I'm sharing them. :-P

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