Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tears



A couple of weeks ago we celebrated the 7th anniversary of the day Corazon moved into our home. Our celebrations are simple. She got to choose dinner and dessert and we celebrate as a family. For the first time we also had to celebrate on a different date because she had an important dance company rehearsal. I could tell she was conflicted about this and that it mattered to her that we couldn't celebrate that day but she also knew she had to go to dance and that was important to her. C. had found a wonderful necklace that came with 20+ magnets so she could change it to suit her mood. We set it up with the "peace" charm since she is all about peace signs these days. She was very excited about the necklace and put it on right away. A little later in the day I noticed she had changed the charm*.

Over the past 7 years I have cried so many tears for my daughter, Corazon. Tears of frustration. Tears of anger. Tears of fear. Tears because I felt like a failure or because I had no idea what else to try. Tears because every time she smiled I could see it was superficial and/or manipulative because there was no smile in her eyes. I have cried more tears than I can recall because for every step forward we seemed to take two or three steps back. There have also been so many tears for what she had endured in her first 4 years of life and for what she had missed out on. During particularly difficult moments I have cried tears because I felt I had nothing left to offer. Occasionally there have been tears of happiness and relief. Certainly there have been a few more of those in more recent years but overall I think there are still more "sad" and "frustrated" tears than anything else.

A few days after her anniversary she had an all day rehearsal followed by the actual performance. It was a long day that began at 6:30 a.m. and ended after 9 p.m. Her dress rehearsal was a grueling 5 hour  affair and she had asked me to stay the whole time. I was honestly worried she wouldn't be able to hold it together and saw glimpses of impending disaster as the rehearsal continued. After a couple of hours off she had to return two hours before the performance. I walked her to the dressing room and could see her anxiety was mounting. She doesn't get very nervous about public performances but she is more aware about her challenges in staying focused. She asked me to stay backstage but I told her I was looking forward to seeing her on stage and I knew she could do whatever she set her mind to do. I was nervous but we have been working up to this for a long time and I hoped she could get through this. Her company's first number (they had 3 besides the opener and finale) was a lyrical dance to a song entitled "Born to Try."  Even though she has practiced that dance dozens of times I hadn't paid much attention to the lyrics before but as she danced I listened closely as my daughter moved ever so gracefully to the words:

But I was born to try

All that you see is me
All I truly believe
All that you see is me
And all I truly believe

That I was born to try

I've learned to love
Be understanding
And believe in life
But you've got to make choices
Be wrong or right
Sometimes you've got to sacrifice the things you like

But I was born to try


She was absolutely beautiful and I could sense that she was putting her all into that dance. And she smiled. Not that performative smile but the smile that comes from being content and feeling good about something. And I cried as she danced.

The rest of the performance went very well and I met up with her in the dressing room and hugged her and told her she was phenomenal. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and asked "really, mom?" I repeated what I had said and she said she didn't know why she felt like crying but that when she was doing her lyrical dance she felt the words in her heart and she thought of me.


*what she changed it to...

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