Monday, February 14, 2011

The Ballet and Bad Timing

            When my mother invited me to take Celia to the children’s ballet with her, Celia had been talking about ballet non-stop for so many months I instantly knew there was only one right decision.
            “Of course!” replied.
            We put the date in the calendar, but didn’t tell Celia. A few times now we’d psyched Celia up for something only to find on the day that it didn’t work out. In those moments she would erupt into enormous wails and tell us how much she wanted to do “such-and-such” in-between the sobs.
            The timing was perfect. Celia’s bedtime was at eight o’clock, and the ballet was to start at seven, so we figured we’d catch the first half, then leave at intermission. The date was set. We knew our plan.
            When the big day arrived we told Celia after she came home from daycare.
            “Ballet!” Celia exclaimed and ran upstairs to her bedroom. She stripped off all her clothing, put on a tutu and began to dance in front of the mirror. This is, actually, a fairly regular activity for her, but in the context of the evening’s events, we were excited for her.
            We showed up early to make sure we would have good seats, only to discover that the ballet started at eight o’clock, not seven!
            I stood in shock. My mind raced.
            Finally, my mother said aloud what I had been thinking, “What should we do?”
            My dad instantly piped in, “Let’s get a refund and go home.”
            I shook my head. I watched my daughter run around on her tip-toes around the foyer with a tutu over her winter clothes.
            “We can’t leave. We already told Celia.”
            My parents turned to look at their granddaughter bubbling over with excitement and nodded their heads in agreement.
            It was tempting to become negative in that moment.
            What an unfortunate turn of events – Celia would watch the ballet, but what sort of shape would she be in by then? Her head is usually on the pillow by eight. How long would she last? I surmised she’d be asleep on my lap within two dances.
            The tickets had been $22 each, even for her, I am shocked to say, though she sat on my lap the entire event. And although it’s not that much money when you look at the big picture of what’s most important in life, we’re living pretty tight right now, so I couldn’t help but wince to think that Celia would probably be asleep and miss most of the performance.
            All these negative thoughts swirled through my mind before I resolved myself to think positively.
            “Well, Mom. Let’s figure out what to do for the next hour.”
            My mother thought for a moment, then tracked down one of the organizing ladies behind the event and explained our predicament. The woman said, “Why don’t you take her backstage?”
            My eyes lit up. What a brilliant idea!
            Within moments Celia was backstage meeting all the girls as they tried on their different costumes and stood still while their mothers’ applied their makeup.
            I watched Celia go up to a teenager and touch the fabric of her outfit. The girl smiled as she bent down to talk to Celia. I shook my head in amazement. This was far greater than we could have planned.
            Celia did break down by nine o’clock, but only after meeting several of the ballerinas backstage and watching numerous dances. Overall, a fantastic night out.
            I am amazed at the power of positive versus negative thinking. It is so easy to get wrapped up in negative thinking when things don’t go exactly as planned. The negative seasoning flavors the whole event with a bad taste. But when we choose to be positive, the results can oftentimes surprise us.
            A wise man once told me, “Pay attention to interruptions. Those are often the most important moments of life.”
            The evening events weren’t exactly an interruption, but it most certainly wasn’t what we’d planned, either.
            And I’ll bet it was an evening that Celia will remember for a long time.

1 comment:

  1. AWESOME!!! Hugs, Miss Celia!
    Auntie Sandra (and Elliot)