So I was pretty sad when I realized that I was only going to have one daughter and that Eliza would be sister-less. I mean my sisters mean SO much to me! (Read a whole post about my sisters HERE if you want.). But I'm super grateful I did get one sweet, wonderful little girl who's so very much fun and who shares so many of the things I love. We read books together, we love watching and participating in music and dance and art, we love being "tough girls" and running and biking and hiking with the boys, we appreciate tea parties and fancy stuff but we're good at roughing it as well. And you know what? I'm loving that I have just one daughter. There are so many things it would be tricky or expensive to do with a 2 or more daughters that are easy to do with just one. Plus I think Eliza and I are building a unique and special bond thanks to Liza's "one and only" status.
Lately, Eliza and I have had a lot of great and beautiful opportunities to really enjoy stuff together.
A few weeks ago, my parents treated Eliza and I to the symphony. It brought back beautiful memories to sit in beautiful Symphony Hall in Salt Lake City and enjoy gorgeous music. My mom used to take me to the symphony as a special treat once in a while when I was growing up (she was so great about sharing her passion for music with all of us in a variety of ways). As is his custom, my dad looked around for better seats during the first half and found a better seat for himself and Eliza for the second half ("There are always great seats up front that are empty - pitty to waste them"). As soon as Liza and Dad took off for their new seats, a nice lady came along and offered me and mom some seats smack dab in the middle of the 5th row (her friends hadn't shown up) so Mom and I had the chance to see every move of every member of the orchestra and had a great view of Eliza and Dad. I loved watching my dad and my daughter enjoy some special time together as much as I enjoyed watching the orchestra. Dad is so good at explaining things and making things extra exciting.
Another thing Eliza and I share is a love for dance. Eliza has LOVED the Virginia Tanner dance program that meets in the Eccles Art Center 3 doors down from our house. It's brought back beautiful memories to see Eliza's creativity and beautiful movements unfurl thanks to her dance lessons. I love how Virginia Tanner focuses on the joy of movement rather than the perfection of specific steps done specific ways.
Eliza had just three girls in her class this year which was wonderful. At their big dance recital, she and her two friends performed a really beautiful piece and it was wonderful for each of the girls to really shine without a crowd of dancers on stage. I don't know if Eliza would be a great dancer in a traditional dance program. She's impatient with doing things certain ways and she's tall and has grown quickly this year - when her teacher has had her do specific steps or movements, she hasn't really looked as graceful as one might hope. But when you give her general directions and ideas and let Eliza loose on the dance floor, wow, she's quite an amazing little dancer!
She was SO excited about her dance recital and when we found out it was the same date as our date for the Park City Power of Moms Retreat, we had to rearrange things a bit. We put the full-day Retreat on Friday instead of Saturday and did our morning session on Saturday instead of Friday and everything worked out great for our whole family including my parents to be there for the big dance performance at the University of Utah's beautiful Kingsbury Hall.
My pictures of Eliza's dance didn't come out well at all, sadly. But here's the grand finale - beautiful stuff.
Another thing Eliza has been really into lately is making up plays. Here she is with her dear friend Savannah putting on a play about two women who live in a log cabin and make dolls. It was a lovely play. She often gets her little brothers involved as well.
And one last thing I've loved lately with Eliza - she's reading all my favorite books from when I was her age - A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables. When she finishes each book, we go out on a special dinner date and discuss the book - it's our own little mother-daughter book club. At the first meeting of our little book club, I was surprised and impressed to see that not only had Eliza finished the book, she had written down a message to her own future daughter in the front of the book about what she loved about the book and had bunch of great discussion questions written in the back of her book for us to talk about together - "What was your favorite part of the book?" "What was the saddest part of the book to you?" "What didn't you like in the book?" - really good questions like that. I had told her that she would get to lead the discussion and I guess she took it very seriously!
So anyway, I guess I'm realizing once again that sometimes the very things we're sad about - like only having one daughter - can become things we're glad about, things that we realize turned out just right.