Thursday, March 24, 2016

Irish Dance Celi ~ part 2

~ Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you,

because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.

Those who don't believe in magic will never find it ~ Roald Dahl, The Minpins 
Some of you reading this might think, so, I don't get it.  And that's okay.  This afternoon was amazing for my little family.  I knew in these moments that (although not earth shattering) I was in the midst of a gift from God.  I could feel His presence and I knew that I was living in a moment I would hold forever.  

There are many happy moments that become wonderful memories for our family.  So so many.  And moments that turn into happy memories...  that is what my life is really all about.  

But this was more than that.  This was like a switch going off.  A change.  A smile from God.  Like an impression deep down... I could feel Him saying, "see, I was right here all along.  Trust me.  She is a gift.  And nothing you could do as a parent raising her could change that.  EoE can not change that.  She has a purpose greater than you know.  This is just a glimpse."  

I wonder how many times God is trying to show something, give something and people don't see it, feel it.  Something happened in that moment and I knew what I was receiving was from Him.  Beautiful, blessed moment... now such a sweet memory.  

But first, the rest of the Celi.  

In the spirit of fun and dance, the final song was I Feel Better When I'm Dancing (from the Peanuts movie)  Abigail already loved that song.  

1 collage


They kind of choreographed it like the dance mob in the video.  It started with the high school dancers and then all of the other dancers ran in to join.  

You could see the smile on Abigail's face from a mile away.  She was so so happy and really rockin it out!





After that awesome last dance the awards, speeches, thanks to helpers are given out.  And then there is the Dedrie Coogan scholarship award.  (this award is not for 'best dancer' or 'most improved' or 'this is the best one'.  It's the opposite really.  Its for the student in the school who shows the most positive effort, demonstrates a consistent positive attitude, kindness, and love for others)  That last dance had just ended and I was talking to my brother, telling him to go see that movie.  Half listening to the teachers describe a child who, "brings the class together, always has a positive attitude, is filled with kindness...."

and then I heard loud and clear, her name.  
"and the Dedire Coogan scholarship award goes to Abigail Baker"



And just like that I jumped out of my seat and grabbed my camera.  As tears fell down my cheeks and my hands shook I took in that moment knowing that I was soaking in a gift.  One that I would remember forever.


Why? Because each time Abigail comes home from dance on Tuesday she is great pain.  Her esophagus burns.  It truly amazes me that she doesn't show it in class. She just dances.  And cares for others.  And smiles.  And laughs.  And does that over and over and over again.  So an award for effort... well it just blew my mind!


She was kissed and hugged by her teachers.  And the 2015 scholarship recipient was on stage to give the trophy to her.  It was a beautiful moment.






Her smile, oh her smile.  I was drinking it in after going though so much medically with her this week.   And because she struggles with pain each and every time she dances.  This moment was such a blessing in our family.


We were on cloud nine for the rest of the day.  The rest of the week.  And really, still are.

There was one more final whole school dance.


And then we couldn't wait to get our hands and hugs around that girl!


Unfortunately she had a a headache and it was really getting to her by this time in the night.




After some magic Tylenol she was up and feeling better. Ready to dance with Grandpa.



We are all so proud of her. Not for the trophy because it wasn't a dance competition but an award for character, kindness, and love for others.




I love these photos of Abigail with Mrs. Coogan


And her beautiful teacher.


She danced and twirled her teacher.


And we all went home happy. Such a wonderful evening ended with an email to the teacher of the school. Because I didn't want them ever to forget what a gift they gave to us a family.

Dear Brenda and the entire Coogan school staff,

I hope this email finds you rested after such an amazing event yesterday.  We would like to thank you for all that you did to put on this Celi this year.  As always it was a joy to watch our children and all of the dancers perform in such a fun environment.  We are so blessed to have found your school which not only teaches our children Irish Dance but also teaches them perseverance, kindness, teamwork, and love.  It amazes us over and over that you know all of the parents by name and great us at the studio, the Celi, the parade, or any event like our family is important to the Coogan school.  When I signed Abigail up four years ago I had no idea how much Scott and I would enjoy the process of learning the ‘ins and outs’ of Irish Dancing.  Your kindness, courtesy, enthusiasm, and love for children is the core of your school and we are so grateful. Thank you.

It was difficult to fall asleep last night.  I just wanted to rewind the clock and see her up on that stage again in your hugs.  For the recognition of her character we are so honored.  Words can not explain the joy it gave us to see her recognized for her effort and for her love of others in the class.  Thank you.

A common question we asked ourselves on Tuesday nights this year was, “how long do you think she will dance”.  Although it was hard to notice in class she came home each dance night with pain from her EoE.  We changed her eating schedule and her medication to try and make dance more comfortable for her.  I really had no idea until she started practicing at home (finally) just how much that movement aggravated her esophagus.  But she loved the feeling of getting better at dance… and finally really ‘getting’ the steps.   It was a wonderful year of “this is me”, “I love dance” for Abigail.  And it was a joy to watch it all unfold.  Thank you.

Two days before the Celi we got a call from the school nurse that she was having an allergic reaction.  Her feet and hands were severely swollen and they burned.  A rash covered her body and she was rushed to blood work.  We avoided the ER that day after consulting her allergist, EoE dr, and pediatrician.  The one thing she kept saying was “the Celi, the Celi… how will I get my ghillies over these feet?”  She didn’t care about the needles and the treatments we had to do.  She only cared about dancing.  Because “she feels better when she’s dancing”.  You gave her that.  Thank you.

I can’t predict the future of course.  And although she tells us she’s going to be a student teacher like Miss Taylor and all of the others I do know one thing.  Irish Dance and all of you have given our daughter a reason to forget her EoE pain.  You’ve taught her that when your (finally) really try, you can succeed at hard things (like those steps), and that kindness and love of others is found in the most unlikely places.  We will hold yesterday and that moment in our hearts as parents forever.  Thank you.

Last night as I tucked her in and gave her a kiss I whispered, “don’t forget this night.  Remember it forever.”  She said, “oh mommy, I will.”  From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. 

In gratitude, and awe,

Scott and Tara Baker 

And she wrote back...


Thank you for this beautiful note and for sharing your thoughts on Abigail's journey leading up to the Ceili.  You know that we love her to pieces already, but after reading your note I love her even more!  I read this on my way to work yesterday and it made me very emotional in a happy and grateful way. The image of Abigail's face coming up onto the stage is seared in my mind forever and it makes my heart feel very full to know that she went to bed that night with a feeling of pride and accomplishment.....she deserves it!  I had not idea how much Abigail deals with medically and it makes me sad to know that she is often in pain.  You would never know based on her positive energy and contagious smile.  I am thrilled that dancing is something that allows her to be distracted from her illness and I hope that it continues to be a positive outlet for her medically,socially, physically and emotionally.  It certainly has been all of those things for Miss Tara, Miss Sarah and myself for many years!  

Thank you for being an important part of our dance family!  I know that we can't predict what the future will bring as far as how long Abigail will continue to dance (although I hope it is forever), but no matter what your family will always be a part of Coogan.  See you this evening!


1 comment:

  1. Oh this post just gave me the chills and filled y eyes with tears. Such a sweet little girl...and the smile on her face as she walked up on stage to gr her award was the best! Love the pictures of her dancing with yiur dad.
    It was truly a day for all of you to remember.