My great achievement (you ought to be able to see my tongue in my cheek, by the way) comes after a particularly hectic weekend which followed the craziness of last week. First, for all who called or emailed, Kevin is fine. He needs to see the doctor, but it wasn't a heart attack. He was having shortness of breath, fainting and palpitations, but not the crushing pain of a heart attack, so he knew he probably wasn't having one at the time they took him to the hospital. But his EKG while there was a little flaky, so they want him to get it checked out. It was probably something to do with his mitral valve prolapse, a.k.a. "heart murmur," instead. I suspect there's some sort of insufficiency. My dad had something similar and ended up having open-heart surgery in his mid-60's.
Anyway, spending a snowy evening at Howard County General Hospital set me back on my heels a little for getting things done, and the next thing I knew, we'd reached the "insane holiday-time weekend that parents of small children dread." You know, the one with multiple mandatory activities.
On Saturday night, we had Madeline's first dance recital. Madeline is a student at Hua Sha Chinese Dance Center. Hua Sha is a troupe of semi-professional dancers organized and choreographed by Ms. Xiao Fang Xu, who was a famous dancer in Shanghai. While most of the dancers are teens and adults -- indeed, one of the soloists works where Kevin works -- Ms. Xu offers dance classes for children. Last year, Hua Sha performed at the Lunar New Year party at Kevin's office. Madeline was captivated! She had already shown some interest in taking dance lessons, and I was looking at ballet and tap programs, but when she saw Hua Sha's rendition of the Tibetan Dance, she was all ready to sign up then and there.
To be sure, we promised the China Centre for Adoption Affairs that we would raise our daughter with an appreciation of Chinese culture. The fact that Madeline wanted to study at Hua Sha was certainly in line with that goal. Nevertheless, late last summer, I told her that she could either study at Hua Sha, or I'd look into classes at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, where her best friend Amanda takes ballet. Madeline emphatically told me that she wanted to study Chinese dance. When I asked her why, she said that the costumes were better. Probably not quite what CCAA had in mind, but we'll take it.
Saturday was the culmination of an autumn's worth of weekly dance classes. Ironically, the recital costume was the pink leotard and white tights she wears to class. After an afternoon of rehearsals at church for the Sunday School pageant to be held on Sunday night, we showed up with grandparents in tow at the Howard Country Center for the Performing Arts shortly before 5 p.m., when the recital was slated to begin -- at least according to the ticket. What we didn't know is that Ms. Xu would run the entire program twice, once as a dress rehearsal at 5 p.m. and once as the real thing at 7 p.m. Next time we'll know to ask, and we can take two cars. I hated to put Kevin and my in-laws through that. But the kids were cute, and the big kids and adults were fantastic. After she danced, Madeline sat transfixed on my lap while the others danced. And yes, as you can see from the picture, the costumes were as lovely and memorable as the dances themselves.
After the recital, we went to dinner at the Double T Diner in Ellicott City (good, cheap and fast), where the arts center is located. We got home around 11 p.m., a very late night for a tired little girl. Sunday night was the church pageant. Sorry, but the pictures turned out very dark. I was sitting too far back in a dimly-lit sanctuary to get great pictures, and at any rate, I didn't feel right about walking up front and using a flash.
As wonderful and crazy as the weekend was, I'm getting further and further behind on preparations for Christmas. Cards are not done. Shopping is not done. Baking is not done. House is not quite clean and certainly not entirely decorated. I'm definitely feeling the seasonal stress. Note to self: Read that post on 1st Corinthians 13 one more time.
P.S. Check out Therese Borchard's wonderful blog Beyond Blue on Beliefnet. Her Holiday Survival Thoughts are a stitch!