Lucia is six! That feels strange to even write – I think I am still trying to get my head around how my baby girl is six. But she is. It was her birthday two weeks ago and she had been looking forward to it for so long (months in fact!) and she had a brilliant birthday weekend.
She had a party with her little friends in our local recreation hall where they played games for an hour followed by food and the all important birthday cake! 13 little girls (and big brother Max of course who ended up getting chased by the girls!) made for a fun/manic couple of hours and she had the best time. We also had a a few family parties and more cakes over the weekend, so it is safe to say we were all partied out!
That all happened over a Saturday, Sunday and Monday – but the madness didn’t end here. That Tuesday brought Lucia’s very first dance festival where she would be joining her dance ‘troupe’ to perform a routine choreographed by her amazing dance teacher on stage.
The girl loves to dance!
Anyone who follows the blog will know that Lucia LOVES to dance. She has been attending ballet classes for about 18 months now and last September joined the Troupe class, which is a group of girls under eight years old who learn a routine together. They then dance at three festivals. Her class has about 20 girls in it and the way her teacher manages the class and has taught them a truly beautiful routine is beyond me! The woman has amazing talent and true patience.
You can read more about Lucia’s love of dance in these posts: this one is about her starting ballet and finding the right teacher, this post is about her first show (amazing!) and this one is just last Christmas when my heart nearly burst!
The big day
They have been practicing their routine called Treasure for months – and then suddenly the big day was here! We headed to the Town Hall where it was being held and when we got into the hustle and bustle of the changing room where everyone was getting ready it was really quite nerve wrecking!
We all arrived early so that the group could get a quick practice on stage – and, as you can imagine, this was very different to the hall they practice in. Lucia ended up completely overwhelmed and her little nerves got the better of her for a few minutes – understandably. But we had a good chat about how those feelings were completely normal, got some reassurance from a little friend and then she was raring to go again. I got her changed into her beautiful, fairy-like outfit, finalised her hair and she even had a little bit of makeup applied!
Slight modifications and Lymphoedema management
This dance is very lyrical and is done in bare legs and feet, but throughout all the practices Lucia has always worn her compression tights and ballet shoes.
When it came to the actual performance I agreed to Lucia doing it in bare legs as it is only three minutes long – but the bare feet is a complete no-no. I explained this to her teacher and the reasons why this can pose such a risk to Lucia and she completely understood. She decided to order her some new ballet shoes in a different style to what she usually wears and more skin-toned in colour, but unfortunately when we got them on the day they just didn’t fit.
They were much narrower than her own ballet shoes and had tight criss-cross elastic on the top of them, which squeezed her right foot unbearably. So, her regular shoes were worn (as previously adapted by me to fit) and off she went. (Luckily I had given them a good clean as I know when it comes to shoes that 9.9 times out of 10 they wont fit, so we always need to be prepared).
I also kept her toe caps and converse on until the very last minute before they headed for the stage and put them straight back on after the performance to try and minimise the fluid build up as much as possible and keep that all important compression on.
So she headed onto the stage with the group, danced her little heart out, smiled a big smile – and they came 2nd! She was so proud of herself for doing it and she honestly just loved it. We were so proud of her for conquering those nerves that had her saying ‘I don’t want to do it’ at one point, to then going on full of confidence.
Thankful and proud!
I am so thankful and grateful to have found a ballet teacher who is understanding and allows these little modifications to happen. Who understands Lucia’s physical well-being is of paramount importance and accepts that she has to do things a little differently. And as mentioned before – Lucia’s first love is dancing. At just six years old it is the thing that makes her most happy and when she isn’t in class she is dancing around the living room or just wearing her ballet shoes because she wants to. Her teacher is a huge part of the reason as to why she loves it so much.
So this is just another way that she is showing Lymphoedema who is boss – and not even realising it. She has no concept that this condition could hold her back in anyway – and long may that last! She isn’t letting it dictate who she is. She is doing what she wants to do, the way she wants to do it, and, as always, doing it amazingly.
Roll on the next two performances!