We have all been anticipating this day for quite some time. Like anything worthwhile, the process of arriving was fraught with hard work, dedication and many, many meaningful moments. Saturday and Sunday rehearsals were an hour away from our house in both directions. Some days were pure chaos making it all happen. But usually, once we were there, we had the chance to give and receive support from other parents who were like us, observe as our daughters formed friendships of their own, and watch with pleasure as the girls moved sweetly together to the music of their dance.
But even all that rehearsal goodness could not have prepared me for the joy and WONDER of performance day. The show itself was spectacular. The costumes, set design, and music were incredible. The Sugar Plum Fairy was a real prima ballerina. The cast and production was so professional. I was beyond impressed. But truly, I had no idea of the impact that this full inclusion would have on me as a mother to Ariana. To get to sit in my velvet seat in the audience and witness my daughter join together with children with and without disabilities as they created something so much bigger than any one person on their own; to get to see her wings grow before my eyes as she reveled in the glee and anticipation of her show with all of her friends... man, there are no words. The tears came and my heart swelled at the opening act, and it didn’t stop hurting. It was so good.
She is so gorgeous! I am just so proud of my confident, happy, independent, sweet shining star.
Ari makes friends wherever she goes. Two of her closest chums were Hailey and Shelsey.
Brittany helped make this all possible by being backstage with Ari so that we could watch the performance. Ari is so lucky to have a friend like Brit.
We were not allowed to take photos. I may be many things, but a rule follower I am not ;).
Here is our family at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Phoenix with Caroline, CEO and Director of Ballet Academy of Arizona, who made this production everything it was.
Congratulations Ariana. I love you.