Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Culminations. Ruminations.

I was sick as a dog, Saturday, but Charleigh had been working toward that trophy since September. What's a mama to do but buck up, Little Camper? And I'm so glad I did.

The Kindercise program in which Charleigh is enrolled is evidently the oldest of its kind in the nation. It's a well-oiled machine; I'll tell you that. Charleigh attends class during the week, and I don't think I've ever seen her class exceed, say, six kids. Three or four is typical, and their teacher Miss Olga leads them, together, from station to station during their hour-long class.

It's been fun to watch Charleigh progress in her jumping, rolling, climbing, hanging, swinging, balancing, etc. At the start of the year, she couldn't move into a headstand (against a mat) by herself; now, she can.

The hour-long awards ceremony was set up much like class in that the children moved from station to station to demonstrate their skills. Every child was occupied at pretty much all times: brilliant! The last fifteen minutes were dedicated to awards, and every child had his or her moment on the podium. The smile on Charleigh's face says it all; doesn't it?

Miss Olga and Charleigh

Meanwhile, Clementine is working toward her dance recital. She has one practice left before dress rehearsal. Here's a photo of her class, Monday night; hopefully, I'll have recital photos, soon.

Clementine is in the back, on the far left.

Last night, Clementine, Charleigh, and I attended Cade's spring concert. He plays bass clarinet. I take my camera to every concert, but at this point, I have no idea why. I can see Cade walk in and out, but after he sits, I really can't see what he's doing, at all.

Having said that, the 8th-grade band sounded great. Cade said they earned a superior rating and third place when they played at Busch Gardens last week. He decided recently to participate in the high-school marching band, next year. As a former band kid who's heard only the very best things about the high-school band, I couldn't be more thrilled.

But the other thing I want to tell you about last night is that--after the concert, as the girls are I were walking down the hall to leave--I ran into a friend. "Did you have a sister here, tonight?" she asked. "I saw you sitting with someone who looks a lot like you."

"Oh!" I said. "That was Cade's stepmother!" And I could tell I caught her off guard, but what she doesn't know is this: the moment of her question was, hands-down, the best moment of my week, so far.

Imagine what she saw: two dark-haired, glasses-wearing women sitting side-by-side in the audience, nudging one another...laughing, chatting, even whispering! like sisters. My little girls were sitting beside Tabitha: between her, actually, and a man: Cade's dad Jason, my ex-husband. None of it was contrived or for show; we are family.

This is an important part of my story. This is doing divorce well. (And for the record, at any given moment, we're far from the only ones doing it.) This is about redemption. This is the work of the Lord. He's so, so much bigger than every statistic and every stereotype.


  1. I love this! So totally into the kids! Charleigh is awesome! Clementine is there! And Cade? He's LUCKY! I was a flute player, I was in the FRONT ROW! I hated it. He and his bandmates are to be commended on earning a Superior, that's not easy. And marching band?!?!?! AWESOME! I did marching band, and made friends I have to this day, and musical skills I can't seem to get rid of. He'll LOVE IT!

    And Brandee, two moms who treat each other as you do...God is speaking through you both. This is how families should be - perhaps blended together, and loving each moment with the kids together. How much better can it get?!?! Thank you, God!

    Peace <3

    1. Thank you, Sweet Friend. I was a flautist, too. I marched the piccolo :)

  2. Happy to see the happiness in Charleigh's face. It shows about her achievements. Need to encourage kids to do things which will motivate them to do their work better!

  3. Needed this today lady....just moments before I said to my friend I can hear Him screaming, but I'm not sure what He is saying. ...I'm so happy to know you lady ***hugs

  4. Thank you for sharing your sweet family with us, Brandee!

    Love the pic's of the kids.

    Especially love the last couple of paragraphs about extended/step/blended families and doing divorce well. The ability to get along that well truly is worth celebrating!

    Between Sherri and I and our kids, we have several of those extended/blended family relationships. Some go much better than others. Some require much stricter boundaries than others. But the ones that go well are truly a gift...I know because I've dealt with the ones that haven't gone well, too...

    Blessings to you and your family. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

  5. woohoo...I see you! I Love PMM (Proud-Mama-Moments..what a blessing)!! Thanks for stopping by my blog Brandee {{big hugs}} Love, Julia xo

  6. ha! I'd say that would be hands down the best moment of the week for me to. YOu made me smile HUGE, ha!

  7. Your girls are big and gorgeous!! And that story! I love it. I love how this world is full of stories of redemption all pointing to a Savior who Redeems!! And I also really appreciate the folks who take the time to tell those stories and say thank you to the One who really writes our stories! love you!

  8. Hi Brandee! You are really helping your kids use their gifts aren't you? Wonderful! And it is a lot of driving and being present, but it sure is worth it. Your children are so proud to be doing what they're doing.
    And congrats on achieving such harmony in your family. That's not an easy road either. But what an example you are to so many who see you. Praise God, his grace, and your willingness. Everyone wins!
    Happy Weekend :)