Kelly's birthday was Monday - that's right, Monday and here it is, almost a week later and I'm finally doing a birthday post for her. Yeah, I suck! I could pretend that its because she wasn't due until May and therefore I'm early but it really just boils down to I suck. I could say its because I couldn't find a good picture of her but its really because I suck. I could say its because we've been really busy but no, its because I suck.
My little Kelly Jelly Beans turned 13 on Monday. My mind just locks up at the idea of my baby being 13. Its such a milestone for a girl. Officially, no longer a little kid but now a teenager. Whew.
When I was pregnant with Kelly, I hoped and prayed for a little girl. I hoped and prayed for a red headed little girl with chubby cheeks. When she was born, I cried. I would sit for hours and stroke those puffy cheeks of hers. I would stare into her face while she gazed back at me. She was the daughter of my dreams. She still is.
So many memories of Kelly are wrapped around dance. She started dancing at 3 and threw her whole self into it - literally. Once that music started, her little hiney would start shaking just waiting for her cue. She would stand in front of the mirror, the TV, anything reflective to watch herself boogey. She would dance down the hallways. Twirl her way into the kitchen. Tap dance her way to the table for dinner. She was and is my Tiny Dancer who is now turning into the Dancing Queen. I can't hear either of those songs without thinking of my Kelly.
The first year she took real ballet, she stole the show. She was 4. All the little girls in her class were in a line to do their dance, most of them doing whatever step they could remember, not necessarily in the correct place and many of them looking to Kelly for guidance. At the end of the dance, she stood there on the stage looking so proud of herself and basking in the glow of the applause, as if they were all for her. Finally, one of the older dancers had to come out and lead her off the stage because she was holding up not only the next dance but also the rest of the kiddies in her class who were in line after her. To this day, I can still close my eyes and remember the look of sheer pride on her face. I can still remember the tears that I shed during that recital because my baby loved the limelight.
She still dances today. And has every year in between. Hanging in my basement are costumes covered with bags that get progressively larger. I cannot bear to part with them and the memories each costume holds. Now, she is turning into the one of the older girls, the girls she used to watch with wide eyes not being able to wait to reach their level. She is...a dancer, a ballerina.
I remember one year when she danced in the Nutcracker. They had a professional dancer who danced the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. I saw Kelly speaking to her backstage (she would have been about 5 or 6). I asked her later what she had said to the dancer and her reply was, "I told her she did a good job". That's my Kelly - all the confidence in the world, thinking that her words to a professional dancer would make the dancer's day. I love that about her.
I've sat through every recital, getting choked up at most because of her beauty on stage but also because I know that she didn't have a father there to heap praise on her. I hated that I was the one to give her flowers when it should have been her father.
There is so much more to my Kelly than dance. She's so smart - she is currently applying to join the National Junior Honor Society and she's only in 7th Grade. She's won so many awards in school and I've come to find out she has art talent. She is so many things I'm not and if I could give her the world so that she didn't have to suffer for another day, I would. My little Kelly is going to go far in life (I'm counting on it, she has to take care of me when I'm old :D) and I'll be sure that I'm there for every little milestone she achieves - there have already been many and there are many more to come.
There isn't a day that my heart doesn't swell with pride for her - the daughter of my dreams. She has never done a single thing to make me ashamed of her. She has taught me to receive and give affection freely. She has taught me there is always enough love. She has taught me that softness isn't a weakness.
I love you my Kelly Jelly Beans. You will ALWAYS be my baby no matter what anyone says!