Face of hope

Face of hope
Courtesy: TIffany Kay Photography

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Off She Goes!

It is no mystery the three older girls (and Maura for that matter) have been bitten by the Irish dancing bug.  I can't say I'm surprised nor disappointed.  The bug got me too when I was about 12.  I took a class and immediately loved it. After many years of competition, performance, and "just for fun," I finally hung up my shoes after two broken bones.  It is neat to see my girls enjoying the sport that brought such joy to my upbringing and I have loved seeing how they each evolve in to their own unique styles and strengths.

Since the three girls 'caught on' fairly quickly, we have planned a few feis' (competitions) around family trips this summer to let them dance and have fun while also seeing out of town family and friends.  To get ready for their competitions, and really just to pass time any day in our house, there is Irish music playing and three little girls dancing around, helping each other keep time and learn steps.  Before starting every step, they count off.... "5..6...7..and off you go!" This has been happening day after day, week after week.  They love to practice and they just do it on their own.  I will be cooking dinner and hear "5....6...7...and off you go!" Lock this away in your mind for the end of this story. :)

We took a trip to DC at the end of July.  The girls had a competition at the end of the week so we went up early to spend time with family and friends.  The two older girls were treated to a 4 hour, 6 mile hike in the Shenandoah mountains with their hero Uncle Nick (my brother).  They climbed over rock quarries, up steep trails and made it to the top to enjoy a picnic lunch admiring the Virginia mountains.

Kaitlin hitched a ride at times

 We got to spend almost everyday with my sweet nephew and every evening with my sister in law whom the girls adore.  We got to talk, laugh, and catch up with my parents, and Brian's parents.  We saw some of the cousins at the competition at week's end and aunts and uncles.

Meagan loves her Aunt Bean

Grandpa and Megs

Cousins at the Feis!

Park time

Meagan's first train ride!

We spent the days letting the girls explore the area where they had first lived - from venturing in to downtown DC to explore the Smithsonians, to taking a boat out of Old Town Alexandria, to staying near Nanny and Pop Pop's house and going on train rides and carousel rides at the local park.  We were also able to go visit old friends including the children (who are now young adults!) I used to babysit, very close high school friends, and also former coworkers of mine at the pub who treated us to a great lunch at their new eatery.  The busy week wound down and before we knew it, Saturday was already upon us.  

The girls' competition was Sunday, so we decided to stay in the hotel Saturday night to make things easier for leaving the next day.  As it turns out, the Feis offered Mass right there in the hotel, so we decided to attend vigil Mass as a family so that Sunday we could get on the road after the conmpetition.  As soon as we took our seats at Mass, I knew Meagan wasn't going to last.  She had been through an extremely busy week and was very off schedule.  I could tell she was in one of those moods where I would have to hold her and walk around with her, so I scooped her up and stepped outside to let her calm down.

Of course, being that a Feis was the next day, there were dancers everywhere practicing and mosaics of Irish music melting together dancing across our ears as we walked the hallway outside Mass.  When Meagah heard the music, she suddenly stopped fussing. She began listening.  Her eyes became active and I could tell she was excited and interested.  I was fine with that - at least she wasn't fussing...and I continued to walk and rock her as the dancers around us practiced and jumped about.

Suddenly, Meagan looked up and put her hand on her pacifier.  She popped it out, and just as matter of factly looked at me and said very clearly "Fi...... Si.... Off go!"  I jumped back a minute (figuratively speaking) thinking to myself.."Did I just hear what I think I heard?"  While Meagan has a few words like "Mama," "Dada," "Byebye," etc... she has never said them with 'purpose'... she will babble and rattle them off like a pattern, but she has never used them in an appropriate situation as a way of communicating.  I took Meagans hand, placed it on my chest and drummed out the rhythm of the music.. then I leaned in and said "5...6...7.. off you go!" and before I could finish the word "Go" her little legs started going crazy!! Wiggling all over.  Kicking, stretching, pounding on my arm.  She was dancing!

Meagan still "dances" all the time

Over the next 20 minutes, I sat there and watched my little girl dance in my arms.  Every so many minutes she would pop that pacifier out and say "Fi...Si... off go!"  And immediately following her own count off,  her legs would start wiggling. And kicking. And stretching.

It was such a great moment - to see her spontaneously show me that she IS soaking in  everything we do around her. The poor kid is dragged to 5 dance classes a week, surrounded by 4 little girls jumping and kicking and practicing all the time....and she gets it.  Meagan was saying in that moment..."Mom... I get it!"

 I cannot plop Meagan down to sit and play on her own just yet - but despite that she found her own way to dance.  I know this is the first of many things she will "figure out" to do in her own unique way.  But that moment is something I will never forget.  We have put a lot of faith on the line for Meagan - and have done so willingly and knowing God will guide us along the way.  It was such a gift to see Meagan, once again, showing us she has faith in herself too.  Every little moment like this is God's way of showing me Meagan is not going to sit it out.  As the song says..."..and when you get the choice to sit it out, or dance... I hope you dance."  And that she did.


  1. My twin sister and I started at 8 and hung up our shoes at 12! We have travelled most of the UK for feis and competitions! I didn't do as many away competitions as I wished(think most of them had a thing about allowing my dance teacher to do it with me-cudnt hear the music as im deaf)

    1. Very cool! The girls love it - and Meagan seems to in her own way as well! That's sad they wouldn't be more accommodating to you but maybe that will change over time if more kids get involved with needs. Thanks for stopping by :)