I cheated a little on this week’s Five Minute Friday… I actually wrote for 15 (I know, way too long) and then a few minutes putting in photos. I wanted to tell the story properly though, my mama deserves that.
This weeks Topic was : What Mama Did …
a memory of what our mama’s did to make them ours.
I’m in a crowded dressing room, full of tutu’s and barres. Hairspray filling the air, counts of 1, 2, 3 and 4, pounding in my ears. I bend down and touch my toes, rising I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, practice slippers on my feet, slender legs rising up from them, I wonder if they will do what I require of them today. I look at myself and laugh, what a sight I look. Beautiful white satin tutu, with warm up leggings, and a dressing gown covering it all. I sink into the splits, I am young, just a child, but it doesn’t take away the nerves. I take a deep breath as I rotate around onto the other leg.
I hear my name called I pick myself off the ground and hurry over to the doorway. A chaperone meets me and takes me to make-up and hair. It’s just a dress rehearsal but everything must be perfect, they will film and photograph during this session. I sit in front of the mirror as they comb my hair and put it up piece by piece. Scrapping it tight, spraying it heavily to ensure it does not move, not even a millimeter. She places her hand on my small face and smooths the skin. They are not used to one so young, so small. She smiles at me. I’m only a child and I can’t contain my fears, my lips tremble and the tears roll down my cheeks. She pulls my chin up and I look into the mirror. What catches my eye is not my own reflection, it’s behind me, it’s my mama.
She knows how much I hate having my make-up done, she knows how worried the talk of my pale skin makes me, she knows how I hate strangers being close up in my face. She arrives, as if by magic, at exactly the right time. She walks over and tells the lady that she will do my make-up, she can check it afterwards. She kneels in front of my chair and takes me hands. they are tiny in hers, half the size. She wipes away my tears, and looks deep into my eyes. “You’re beautiful my girl, just the way you are.” I smile a mama’s words are always the sweetest. “We just need to add a little bit of make-up so people can still see your beauty under those bright lights.” I nod, “ok”. Gently she rubs on foundation and sweeps the blusher across my cheeks. She asks me to close my eyes and kisses me on the nose before applying the eyeshadow and mascara. She never once mentions the paleness of my skin compared to theirs, because to her it is beauty. She goes in search of a tiny lip brush, but never makes a deal out of it, she returns triumphant and brushes lip stain and lip stick over my thin thin baby lips. She hands me a tissue, I know what to do, I bite down on it and she repeats the routine. She looks at me and smiles “All done.” She calls over the make-up artist who closely inspects me, my mama kneels beside me and hold my hand tight as the other lady makes minor adjustments. It’s finished. I go back to my dressing room and continue to warm up.
My mama leaves me there, she knows I am safe, she knows I will be fine now, although the butterflies still flutter in my stomach, and the nerves still jitter in my bones. She goes and waits in the auditorium, patiently waiting for her baby girl to appear on the stage. Eventually they call my name, outside the door my chaperone is waiting with my duo. He smiles at me “Ready?” He’s all grown up and used to this, I smile feintly, “I think so”. We walk the maze of corridors of this big theatre, and he talks me over and over what will happens. He reassures me that if they stop us it isn’t bad, that they might just want photos, or to reshoot the video. I nod. We arrive in the wings. I hear the music start, he grabs my hand and we’re off, running onto the stage, leaping, and turning. The stage is so big and my little legs strrugle to get me from one point to another. But all others feelings have dissolved, the music felling my ears, the exhilaration of dancing on that stage, the utter trust in his ability, nothing else matters. We repeat a few times, we stop, we start, we pose, my small child’s body aches.
It’s lunchtime and my mama is there, knocking on my dressing room window. I run out to meet her. My tiny body exhausted, but still enough energy to run into a mama’s embrace. “Quick get changed I’m taking you out for lunch before tonight’s performance.” I run back inside and pull on my jeans and a sweater over my tights and camisole. She carries me down the street knowing how tired my legs must be, and knowing that I must do it all again in a few hours, only better. She takes me to my favourite place. The fast-food place with burgers, and fries, and icecream deserts. I take a bite of my cheeseburger and eat a few fries, before exhaustion gets the better of me. I curl up on the bench and rest my head on her arm. She sighs, she knows the routine well. My body needs the sustenance but I am too tired to feed it. She knows there is no point fighting it, she knows that right now rest is more important. Tonight she will fight me to eat food. For now she allows me to rest on her, she lifts her hand and strokes my face. “You are so beautiful my girl.” I sigh with the weight of her affirmation. “You danced spectacularly, you’re my little ballerina.” She knows right now I need words of encouragement not of criticism, so she speaks the good and leaves out the bad. Her thoughts are affirmed by my response “But what if I can’t do it later? What if my legs won’t work? What if I forget?” “You’re a ballerina, your leg will remember even if your mind forgets. When you dance the audience melts.” It’s all I need to hear and I close my eyes and let myself drift into sleep.
That was my mama, I was only 5 years old that time, but I remember.Patient waiting, unending encouragement, taking an interest, loving away my fears, I remember.
For years she continued the same routine. She continues the theme to this day. Cheering me on, from a distance now. Telling me I am able, telling me I am beautiful, loving away my fears.
I will always remember.
She is my mama, and I am her daughter.
This is my first week linking up with Ann Voskamp over at A Holy Experience. I’m taking the Joy Dare 1000 gifts challenge, counting our gifts every day. She’s made a cute little calender with 3 gifts to count each day, so by the time you reach the end of the year you’ve counted over 1000 gifts. I started a little late, so every now and then I’m going to add in some random ones too. If you want to join in why not hope over to her blog for more details, or shoot me an email.
Normally I will try and include some photos of my gifts, but this week I just haven’t gotten around to it. Sorry. I’d like one of those smartphones so I can just snap a photo wherever, whenever, and easily put it online. Maybe one day… although part of me really does NOT want a smartphone (but that’s a story for another day).
First let me start with what I am looking forward to this week:
1. Half-Term break. A more flexible & relaxed schedule.
2. Making progress on a few big jobs.
3. Worshiping and praying mid-week with my church family.
4. Driving in my now road-worthy car.
5. Making and eating curry.
Gifts 1 – 21 :
3 Gifts in Work1. The fridge full of pancake batter ready to feed hungry mouths tomorrow.
2. Articles written, sent, and approved.
3. Mothers and their kids stepping through church doors for the first time.
3 Hard Eucharisteos
1. An almost empty bank account reminding me that I am / to be fully reliant on His provision.
2. Being surprised by pain, prompting me to give thanks for His healing thus far.
3. Difficulty making that decision showing me He has given me His love for people.
3 Gifts Behind a Door
1. An unopened advent calendar : chocolate to enjoy.
2. A kind, compassionate, face greeting me into the doctors.
3. Unexpected mail laying on the doormat.
3 Ways You Feel The Love of God
1. The cute smile of baby ‘H’ and she looks up at me.
2. Double rainbows in the sky reminding me He hasn’t forgotten.
3. Sweet peace and stillness in the silent reverent worshipful moments as the day dawns.
A Gift in Losing, Finding, and Making Something
1. Loosing sleep – an extra day at home to rest, plan, write, and organize.
2. Finding sticker dots hidden inside my wall planner – unexpected and useful.
3. Making plans for the future – a sign of improved health.
3 Gifts in Shadows
1. The cool relief of shade on a long, hot walk.
2. Dancing shadows in the flickering candlelight, helping me focus on Him.
3. A spanner found hiding in the shadows under my car.
3 Gifts Found Giving / Serving
1. Giving someone a home for the afternoon – the unexpected joy of company.
2. Opportunities to sit and talk with people who I don’t usually cross paths with.
3. Watching God change lives – hope that He is still changing mine too.
The mail has arrived early this morning and I scoop down to pick it off the doormat. I shuffle through them reading the names one by one, all address to me. I carry them up the stairs and lay them on my table-come-desk. I sit and pick up the top letter.
I know not who these letters are from, but I know the power letters have to change the course of hours, days, months, lifetimes. They may carry printed sheets of no significance what-so-ever, the kind that go straight into the recycling bin, ready to be torn, and soaked, and reshaped, into something else entirely. However, they may also carry good news, or bad news, news that encourages, or news that frustrates.
I am aware of my need to remember my God, the author of my story, to remember who He is, to remember His promises, to remember where my value lies.
If it is good news my heart has the tendency to become proud, proud of my achievements, my work, my dedication, my abilities. Only they’re not mine, they are His, it is all His, for He created me – from scratch, and all I have and all I achieve is simply a gift from His hands. Good news also makes me run off and make my own plans, makes me tend to my needs first above all else, it sets me off going at 100 mph. But stop oh my girl. Stop, wait, listen. Give thanks first, and remember all you have is a gift from Him. Ask what it is your saviour would have you do. See where your author of life would have your story go.
If it is bad news my soul is so easily discouraged. Hope flees in an instant, dreams dissolve to nothing, smiles fade. If it is bad news I have the capacity to become stressed, frustrated, anxious as control seems to slip from my hands, as if it was ever in my hands in the first place. My stress turns to anger, anger at those who wrote the letter, anger at all who cross my path. Bad news can lead me to rely on myself, to handle situations in my own strength, to make my own plans, to respond with my words. But bad news is not bad news, it is simply unexpected news. He holds this all in His hands, and none of it is a surprise to the one who created it all, He has a plan and He knows how this will all work into it. He is the master of making beauty out of ashes. I must wait for his perspective, for His peace, for His love.
So I pause for a moment, letters sitting unopened in front of me and I recall all the things I know my God to be.
King of Kings
Great I AM
I recall each of them, and I let my heart settle on who He is, before I allow any other voice to speak into my life.
Breathing in all He is, I pick up the first envelope and open it.