Glory had her first feis of the year this past Sunday, which saw three of us head out to the Marriott Hotel at River Cree while Fenya joined some of our friends (and 1500 other people!) at the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk.
She is taking her dance a little more seriously this year, and putting more time in to practicing. A lack of suitable floor space within our domicile has seen her practicing with her hard shoes out in the garage, which is none too warm. It was cold enough that I could see my breath as I was out starting the barbecue for supper a week or so back, and peeked in the garage window to see how she was doing.
She was prancing about in good form, an expression of totally focused concentration on her face, her cheeks flushed from her exertions. She certainly didn't notice me grinning in the window, even though she passed close enough for me to see her lips moving as she silently counted ONE twothree, ONE twothree, and worked her way through her various jigs and reels.
I entered the garage as she was finishing up. "Good work," I told her, "I can see you're working hard."
"Thanks," she puffed. "I forgot my CD player in the house, but I still went through all the steps."
"You did all that from memory, with no music?"
We turned off the garage lights and headed back towards the house. "That's very dedicated of you, Glory. You make Mum and I proud when you do that." That got me a big grin,and I asked her, "Do you know what it reminds me of?"
"What?" she asked.
"When you were just starting out, and having a little trouble with the basic steps, we would push all the furniture out of the way in the basement, put The Best of the Chieftains on the stereo,and you'd hold my hand while we skipped around in a big circle, couting ONE twothree, ONE twothree until you were comfortable with the steps."
Glory was incredulous. "Really?"
"Hell, yes!" I responded indignantly. "How can you not remember that? D'you think it's easy for a man my size to skip for that length of time? To say nothing about how silly-feeling it left me! I can't believe you don't remember it."
"Maybe a little..." she hedged.
"Pfft," I said. "It's a good thing you don't need that help now..." Truth be told, I can barely follow her feet now, let alone discern the steps.
Before opening the door to the house, she stopped from a step up to give me a big hug. "Thank you for practicing with me Daddy, even if I don't remember."
And just like that, everything was fine again.
Glory's been fascinated by Irish dance ever since seeing it at Heritage Days when she was three years old. For weeks and months afterwards she talkd about the dancers with the bouncy hair, and she hadn't stopped two years later when we finally got her started in lessons. We learned that the bouncy hair was almost always a wig, and the springy curls were designed to accentuate the height of the jumps, and to make it appear they were leaping even higher than they actually were.
We got Glory a small bun-style wig for her first feis a couple of years back, but this summer, Nanny gave her some money for Irish dancing 'stuff', so she got her first proper bouncy hair wig.
While it's hard to be conclusive about what sort of affect such an accoutrement might have, Glory ended up getting 5 medals in 7 dances, including two gold, one of which was in her very first hard-shoe competition.
Before we left, I told her how proud I was , but not because of the medals she won, which confused her a bit. "What are you proud of then?" she asked.
"How hard you worked and how much effort you put into practicing for this feis. And I know you will keep doing it and do even better next time, right?"
Even her nod made her hair bounce.