It has been hard watching Ellie as the "middle child" recently. It's particularly difficult when she wants to play with Mary Clare and her friends but can't keep up, when she wants special homeschool books, when she wants to hold her brother like her sister does, or now watching her big sisters and all the little girls prepare for the ballet recital which she isn't able to participate in.
For some reason, probably my dance history among other reasons, I am very sensitive about how she reacts to the issues at dance class...the other kids getting their costumes, watching them rehearse today, etc. I've almost been in tears listening to her innocently cry out "Mommy, I four (years old)? I dance today, Mommy? Please I dance, Mommy?" I finally went and asked one of the staff today if there were any extra costumes and if she could participate. After all, my little 3 year-old is actually more proficient at the ballet steps many of the older girls! I was almost more disappointed to know that there was an extra costume but that the director had said she couldn't participate since she just started last month. I was tempted to go ask the director myself (which I had done before, asking if she could join the class) since she seems to be favorable to my family. But it was a busy evening of recital rehearsals where I couldn't catch the director, and my sweet friend C helped encourage me by reminding me of this quote a friend posted on our homeschool loop recently:
Pope Benedict (from a recent audience):
"Even suffering is part of the truth of our life. Thus, trying to shield the youngest from every difficulty and experience of suffering, we risk creating, despite our good intentions, fragile persons of little generosity: The capacity to love, in fact, corresponds to the capacity to suffer, and to suffer together."
Oh, how hard it is to be "Mama Bear" and watch your baby bears suffer! I hate it (and I don't use the word hate!). I hate when they're sick. I hate when they get left out. I hate when they have to suffer from disappointment or discouragement because something doesn't work out right.
But I also have to teach them that it's part of life to suffer. That Christ suffered and suffers with us. That Mary our Mother always loves us and walks with us as we carry our crosses. It will make them more generous, more sympathetic, and more loving. I hate that they have to know sorrow and sickness and death and sadness so early...but I would hate to deny them the ability to grow in charity, to have a greater capacity to love and be loved.
So here is Ellie's one chance dancing with her classmates last week when they first tried on the costumes and let her practice with them during class. (Ellie is 2nd in line behind the maroon-sweatered teacher and MC is the last one in the video. Yes, they have three teachers helping and the director in there!) My little butterflies!