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#TrailingSpouseStories: Christmas “Firsts”

Welcome to the second run of the #TrailingSpouseStories blog crawl hosted by Tala Ocampo and Didi of D for Delicious.  This December we talk about our Christmases around the World and the similarities and differences the holidays bring.  Please see the end of the post for other #TrailingSpouseStories.


My memory of the Holidays and Christmas is marked by the kids.  “BK” (Before Kids), my husband and I would go on a 24-hour food binge with our four Christmases:  His dad’s side for Christmas eve, my mom’s side for Christmas morning, my dad’s side for Christmas lunch, and his mom’s side for a late Christmas lunch all through the evening.  It was like that even when we were still dating.  I don’t know how we managed to keep all that food down.

But after the kids came, suddenly I found something totally different about my Christmas, each and every year.

2008 was our first Christmas as parents, and our first Christmas in Chapel Hill.  Sam was three weeks old, and so we didn’t fly home for the Holidays.  Christmas mass was Sam’s first trip out of the house, and my husband got her a Christmas dress — which she only wore once.

Our first Christmas as a family of three.
Our first Christmas as a family of three.

It was the quietest, simplest Christmas I ever had.

In 2009, we flew back to Manila for the holidays for Sam’s very first Manila Christmas.  And though the 4-Christmas spectacle was in full swing, Sam and I were severely jetlagged, so we slept through most of the festivities.

I didn’t know it then, but it was also my  Mama Mia’s last Christmas on this earth.  Thankfully we got to capture our “four generations of women” in a photo.

Four generations of women in my family. :)
Four generations of women in my family. 🙂  Photo credit: Ku Manahan

2010 was the year of Christmas weddings where Sam was asked to be a flower girl at least five times (Gasp!  Dreams do come true! ;)).  However, we couldn’t make it to any of them!  I was pregnant with Jamie — which also meant, it was my first Christmas pregnant.  Can you imagine the maternity winter clothes I had to buy.  Can you imagine the layers I had to put on when I could barely see my feet on a regular basis!

I was too pregnant to fly, so instead my husband treated us all to the beautifully breathtaking Biltmore estate for Christmas Eve.  This was the first Christmas I spent traveling.

I'd forgotten how pregnant I was!
I’d forgotten how pregnant I was!

The next day we drove up to Virginia to see family, and experienced our first Christmas snow day.  Sam was already two at the time, and was happy to be the recipient of all the presents under the tree.

In 2011 we flew back to Manila once more, this time for Jamie’s first ever Christmas.

Their first Christmas as "sisters"! :)
Their first Christmas as “sisters”! 🙂

As you can see, the photos stopped being photos of us, and more of the two sisters (in matching outfits no less!).

That was quite the stressful holiday too because we rushed Sam to the hospital days before Christmas due to an upper respiratory tract infection.

My heart stopped beating.
Dec 20:  The day I thought my heart stopped beating.

In 2012, we flew home to Manila “for good” and spent our first Christmas in our new apartment.    Sam and Jamie performed their first Christmas programs in their respective schools, and I learned just what a stage mom I was.

I never thought I'd be such a sap watching their performances.  Now I know.
I never thought I’d be such a sap watching their performances. Now I know.

2013 is what I like to call the “adjustment year”, when things were slowly falling into place here and there.  For the first time in forever (cue Frozen), we were FINALLY adjusting to a Manila routine.  The Christmas programs ran as expected in both schools.  The kids were older so they could better handle the “four Christmases”.  They still got a ton of presents, and were finally able to maximize their Christmas outfits.

Thank you, Ines Moda Infantil (left) and Tita Kisa (right).
Thank you, Ines Moda Infantil (left) and Tita Kisa (right).

The “new” this year was the holiday cheer brought about by Two Tots.   It was crazy fun buried under all those stockings, what can I say.

This 2014, just as I thought I was getting the hang of a Manila Christmas routine, I find myself again with another first:  Christmas in LA.

For someone like me who looks forward to predictability and routine, these last six Christmases have been a lot to take in.  I spent almost three decades of my life with the same kind of Christmas rituals and the same kind of routine.  Then each year after that, something stark and all too new just threw off the balance.  Ninety-seven percent of the time,it was great and wonderful and I’m indeed thankful.  But it doesn’t change the fact that it was all new and unexpected.  So what else is there to do but re-build traditions and holiday preparations, and to learn from each thing every step of the way.

Like getting the kids involved in the Holiday preparations.

As you can see, our tree is bottom heavy.  Take a guess why.
Santa Sacks are ready!  And as you can see, our tree is bottom heavy. Take a guess why.

And bringing something to remind us of home.

All by Two Tots!  How can you not have them for Christmas?!
All by Two Tots! How can you not have them for Christmas?!

And then of course, teaching the girls the true meaning of Christmas.

My beautiful Belen, a gift from my Mom!
My beautiful Belen, a gift from my Mom!

And maybe it’s because the last six years have each been so different that they’ve all stuck to me more than the Christmases of previous decades. It feels like parenting with a holiday flair, where no two days are the same, and no two children are the same!  Each year brings about many surprises that, like children, teach you a life lesson.  Learning to run with the new as well as holding on to a little bit of the old.

Somewhere in all that chaos, there is a certain familiarity and a semblance of knowing that each year will be just the same.  It doesn’t matter how many firsts each year brings your way. 🙂


Check out the other #TrailingSpousesstories by clicking on the links here:

Didi’s story on D for Delicious :  How Christmas abroad started out tearful, but turned tearless after some time.
Yuliya’s story on Tiny Expats:   Their journey and experience of the winter holidays in 6 countries.
Abigail’s story on Cuddles & Crumbs :  A look back at Christmas and family traditions.
Tala’s story on Tala Ocampo: Their first Christmas abroad in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with the birth of their first child.
Marie’s story on D is for Delicious:  How Christmas celebrations change with the times, and the one thing that keeps it the same.
Glendale’s story on G’s Kandy Krush:  Her first Christmas in Sri Lanka with her husband and 2 sons.
Third’s story on Pinoy in America:  How Pinoys have successfully brought the Philippines’ best-loved Christmas customs and traditions to America.
Marc’s story on Fatherland, explaining how Christmas is different this year compared to past Christmases; and
Kristine’s story on Tala Ocampo where Mac shares her reflections on spending Christmas away from home for 15 years.

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The Gift of Memories with The Picture Company

I’m all about capturing memories.  I have a ton of photo albums in all shape and form.  And that’s why I can’t live without my iPhone these days, or go anywhere without a camera.  It’s like I’m obsessed with making sure I document the girls’ milestones and daily activities as something for them to look back on when they’re older.  I keep thinking about my childhood and looking through some of the albums my mom put together for me, I’d have to admit that they trigger a lot of sentimental and fond memories.  I want that for the girls too.

Over the years we’ve had some really great photo shoots here in Manila (except for one but let’s not get into that!  positive thoughts!), including one that captured the four generations in my family with Sam and my Mama Mia still alive.  That was precious to me.  Last year we were gifted with several outdoor shoots too, a first for us.  The girls I was told, were relatively easy and cooperative and the out takes turned out great.

This year, the SoMoms were gifted by The Picture Company with a family shoot.  I gladly accepted and booked with the Bonifacio High Street Branch right away.  I initially thought we’d do another outdoor shoot (as only the BHS branch does this), but then I figured it’s also been a while since we did an indoor studio one.

Eva our photographer was quick to say that we could do both.  She also did an interview with me to check on our family’s personality.  Then a few days later I receive an email from her with pegs and suggestions of what to bring to the shoot.  That was pretty cool.

On our first Sunday over at The Picture Company, we did the indoor shoot and the girls were pretty good about hamming it up for the camera.  They specifically requested for their own change in outfits too.

Sam we said was adventurous and all smiles. :)
Sam we said was adventurous and all smiles. 🙂

I felt Eva was able to capture both Sam and Jamie.  When my husband saw the pictures, he was quite pleased.  “It’s really her!”  “That’s sooo her!” he’d exclaim when we first saw the slide shows.

Jamie of course, brought Bunny.
Jamie of course, brought Bunny.

We liked the shots so much that Eva made a photo motion collage of each of them for us.  I can see these hanging in the walls of the girls’ playroom. 🙂

They were both "so themselves" in these pictures!
They were both “so themselves” in these pictures! Does that make sense?

The Sunday after, we went back for our outdoor shoot at an earlier time.  From past experience, I knew to bring water, food and some bubbles.  The girls were a sport about it for a good 30 minutes, but after they both good moody and tired.  Jamie got itchy, and it was downhill from there.  Still, somehow in the midst of all of that, Eva was still able to capture some really precious moments.

Love the way the green fades and the girls stand out!
Love the way the green fades and the girls stand out!

And again I found myself daydreaming as to where in the house I would hang these up.

I also know they’d make perfect gifts for the grandparents.  They’re actually the hardest people to gift come Christmas because I feel that they have everything (Our parents spend their lives giving to us.  What do we give back?).  What better gift to give them than photos of grandchildren?  I’m sure there is space in my mom’s house and on my mother-in-law’s piano for just a few more of these.

As a member of The Picture Company, they have this package which entitles one to double the prints at half the cost on your birthday.  Thankfully, Sam’s birthday is tomorrow (and on that note I shed my first tear!  sniff!)!  So I happily picked a second set of prints. 🙂  Yay!

Our experience with The Picture Company was great.  It’s worth considering if you’d like a family photo shoot again this season.  And you can actually get it for free, until December 15!  Just follow the instructions below and show them a copy of this coupon.  🙂

Get your portraits done today!
Get your portraits done today!


Easy as pie!
Easy as pie!

The Picture Company also has some cute Christmas cards, and this promo runs also until December 15.  That’s another cool “gift” to give for the holidays.  I know it’s a tradition for families to send out these cards in the US (I loved collecting the ones we got every Christmas from family and friends), but I haven’t seen it done much here yet.  Well maybe now’s the time to start. 😉  20 Gift Cards and Gift Tags can go a long long way.

Go get them!
Go get them today!


Thank you to Eva, Mama Sol, and the rest of The Picture Company for the awesome photos!  Follow them on:

Facebook:  The Picture Company, and The Picture Company Bonifacio High Street

Twitter and IG: @ThePictureCoPH, @TPCFort


Tel No (for BHS) +632.8561232


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Kate Baked Some Christmas Goodies

Why hello there blog and blog friends!  It’s been a while, hasn’t it 😉

If you recognize this pile:

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….

… I’ve been buried under it these last few weeks.  I honestly don’t mind, it’s a fun and happy problem to contend with.  Fortunately the orders continue to come in, and really, we cannot thank you enough for the support through our personalized items!  No doubt, it has kept me fairly busy.  That among other things and current events happening in our country today.

Before I continue, a commercial break:  If I’m being honest, it’s been a bit hard to post about the usual everyday things and happy thoughts since Yolanda hit the country.  No doubt we’ve all been affected and we’re all doing our share in small ways to help.  I have my thoughts about it, and I will share them here when ready.  In the meantime, I will try to establish some sense of “new normal” and rebuild the blogging mojo back to its old levels.  Hence the somewhat cheery, yummy pre-Christmas post…

The other part of this pre-Christmas order rush is our food tie-up.  In the past years, folks have come to Two Tots looking for items they can also give the parents and relatives of the kids they shop for.  In this case food really well since it serves more than one recipient and can be given to the entire family.

In an earlier post, I mentioned the Trays we launched also for the season.  Since the Mommy Mundo Bazaar two Sundays ago, we’ve also started to put some Christmas cookies on them.  It’s a miracle the cookies have actually made it onto the tray and into our sales as Bea and I find, they’re so good we can’t stop eating them ourselves!

That’s because they’re made by the cookie goddess herself, Kate Santos.  Kate of Kate Baked, has gamely teamed up with Two Tots this year to distribute two Christmas flavors that are EXCLUSIVELY SOLD with us.  The first one is what she calls White Christmas, and it’s made with milk and some white chocolate chunks, apart from the usual cookie dough mix.  It’s not too sweet, but it’s for all the milk cookie lovers out there.  A dozen of it comes in a box and is sold for P450.  With our tray (originally priced at P295), we give it all at a total of P695 — all wrapped and ready to be given as a gift.

Orders can be placed when you email:
Orders can be placed when you email:

The second cookie is literally a taste of Christmas.  It’s what Kate calls her Spiced Date.  It’s not actually a spicy cookie, but more of one that is filled with all the spices of Christmas.  It’s DIVINE I tell you — Divine!  It’s worth breaking your holiday diet for.  This dozen goes for P550, but again when paired with our tray, it’s a gift that’s worth P795.

Yummy, pretty gifts.  What more can you ask for?
Yummy, pretty gifts. What more can you ask for?

All these cookies of course are baked with a whole lotta love.   They’re also wrapped individually, so you don’t have to worry about the cookies getting old too fast. The cookies last about 4-5 days in room temperature, but could last longer if you refrigerate them immediately.  You’d just need to warm them up again before gobbling them all down. 😉

We sampled these cookies at the bazaar and everyone’s praise was consistent.  The texture, the moistness of the cookies… they’re really, really good!  Even the kids liked it, and they kept coming back for more!  There’s not much more to say except, please do come and taste them for yourselves.

In fact, we will be at the 2nd half of the Mommy Mundo Bazaar this coming December 8 at the Rockwell Tent.  If you place your cookie and tray orders now, we can have them ready for you by that Sunday.  It’s actually perfect because the next day, you can take them to work to give out or send them off to deliver.

Kate has several other well-known cookies that she makes.  You can get them through us too (we’d be happy to put it on a tray for you, but the actual prices will apply).   For orders, we’d need at least a week in advance to prepare, so please do notify us ahead of time.  Don’t forget your 50% deposit to confirm the order so that we can process it in the most efficient amount of time possible. 

Let’s all #Spreadthecookielove y’all! 😉

You can find her on Facebook at Kate Baked Cookies, or follow her on Instagram:  @katebakedcookies.



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The Two Tots 2013 Christmas Catalogue

Bea and I have spent the last few months putting together this year’s Two Tots Christmas Catalogue!  I’m so glad it’s ready, and we’re excited to share it with you.  The first thing I will say is if you’re not on the Two Tots mailing list yet, please do get on it pronto!  Just send an email to so you can receive all the exciting news that we send (Don’t worry, we don’t flood emails so it’s one comprehensive newsletter at a time). 🙂

The thought process behind the items was that it had to be something practical, useful, fun, timeless and thoughtful — or a combination of any and all of the above.

First up:  we kept the widely popular personalized line of Christmas stockings, Santa Sacks, Aprons and Drawstring Bags (to name a few).  As a customer of Two Tots not long ago, I purchased Santa sacks for my girls.  They’d be used as the sacks Santa would leave his presents in.  There was no need for Santa to gift wrap, and no need to write a note (which is what gave away Santa for me in my younger days!).  After that, the sacks were easy to tote around our three other Christmases to put all their loot in.

Of course they knew the gifts were from Santa because well... he's sitting on them! ;)
Of course they knew the gifts were from Santa because well… he’s sitting on them! 😉

A lot of people have asked me about the Large sack and the XL sack and why it’s the same price.  Basically it’s just the orientation of the bag that’s different, but the amount of cloth used is the same. 🙂

The stockings, the aprons and the drawstring bags!
The stockings, the aprons and the drawstring bags!  Photo courtesy of Two Tots.

The drawstring bags are great for kids to put extra clothes in and take to school, or put some toys in to take to a friend’s house.  It’s all washable (please iron on the reverse side always!), so it’s easy to keep clean and store.  And they’re a gift that’s under P300!  This year we added another design for the boys:  soccer balls!  And the best part about it being personalized is that it won’t get lost.

Some notes:  For the personalized items, we’re doing them in batches this year due to the high volume of orders.  Our next batch of production will run for orders placed by October 30.  This will ensure you get your personalized items on or before November 30.  To secure your order, don’t forget to make the 50% deposit and send us a scanned copy of the deposit slip!

Then there are the regular items of Two Tots that are also great gift items  A lot of them can be found in Babyland and the ID Ideas for Living branches, but we’re happy to accept orders directly as well.  There are the usual clip hangers, different shaped chalk boards (with chalk!), and the magnetic boards; all useful, handy and very practical.

Fun and easy gifts to give!
Fun and easy gifts to give!

There are a lot more, including some items from our new collection of Crib Sets, Bean Bags and Hampers, but I will leave all of that to the imagination for now (and also so that you can join our mailing list to see!).

And of course — what is Christmas without food!

Because of last year’s successful partnership with Maga’s Kitchen, we decided to go on ahead and do it again!  This time, Maga herself collaborated with us for some of her new items that are perfect gifts for families, co-workers, aunts, uncles and friends.

The Lemon squares and Mango Nut loaf are sold at P250 a box.
The Lemon squares and Mango Walnut loaf are sold at P250 a box.

We have designed personal trays and packaged them along with Maga’s Lemon Squares (box of 15) and Maga’s Kitchen Mango Walnut Loaf — a new creation.  It’s absolutely delectable, I kid you not.  My husband can finish a whole loaf in one sitting (and he’s the pickiest eater in our household) If you ask me, it’s a wonderful alternative to the usual fruit cake.

The trays come in a black and white Damask or a distressed green finish with gold trim.  They’re also sold separately at P295 each, but are given at a discount when purchased with some Maga’s Kitchen items.  I don’t want to spoil the surprise here, but all the details will be in our newsletter soon, so be sure to open it up!

The best part is, you just have to give us your order.  Maga’s requires orders a week in advance (also of course with the 50% deposit), and then we take care of packaging it all for you and letting you know when it’s ready to pick up.  It’s giving yummy food the Two Tots way! 😉

We have so so so much more in store for you all this coming season, Bea and I are bursting at the seams (not to mention all the taste testing we’ve done!  Yum!).  So start your Christmas list, and check it twice!  We hope to make this Christmas shopping a little less hectic and a little bit more fun for you!


Two Tots will also be at the Mommy Mundo Bazaar at the Rockwell Tent on November 10 and December 8.  We will have all our Christmas items and food there for actual shopping and order-taking.  Be sure to drop by and stay tuned for what you can possibly win from Mommy Mundo! 🙂

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My Christmas Experiences as a Stage-Mom (of Two)

Two of the highlights of my busy December were the girls’ school Christmas programs (I think I’m still recovering from both production numbers since I’ve only found the courage to write about it now!).  I’ve figured out why I’d never felt this frazzled in the past, even when Sam was going to preschool in Chapel Hill.  First the obvious — it was one child that had to perform and not two.  Second, the school programs were simple and they didn’t run smack into the height of the Christmas holidays, as we are known to do here in Manila.  Sam’s first preschool was Jewish, and Hanukkah normally falls at the beginning of December.  Her second preschool was non-secular, so the biggest celebration they had was Thanksgiving, and the children sang all of two songs.  Here in the two schools my girls attend the year-end Christmas program is a major production for teachers, children and parents alike!

Jamie the Christmas Elf

At Jamie’s school, the teachers were trying to keep the performance a surprise.  Jamie would some songs every now and then though so I knew a few, and at pick-up I’d catch the older kids at practice.  Each time we’d pass the kids, Jamie would move in tune to the music too.  One morning in December in the middle of a diaper change, I said, “It’s December, Mom will start teaching you some Christmas songs okay?”  And then I started singing Jingle Bells.  I stopped at the phrase “Jingle all the way!” thinking that would be a lot for her to repeat, but instead Jamie replied, “Oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh – Hey!”  Aha.  Another song in their repertoire.

Jamie’s teachers would always tell me that she loves to sing and dance, and was really the only one in her class who would consistently perform.  She’d even walk to the front and stand on top of the x-marked spot.  Nonetheless I was nervous about the big day, because — if I know my child — she gets completely conscious when she knows she’s being watched; and I don’t think a room full of parents and cameras would inspire her to perform.  But I hoped, and asked her teachers to video a practice session, just in case.

At home, I did the usual prep work and talked about her big day for weeks.  I downloaded the songs (it was a mad search on the net I tell you!) so that she could practice her moves at home, even if I didn’t know if they were correct.  I tried to get her to do them in front of a small audience, but she’d shy away.

I lost sleep the night before her performance and prayed it would all go well.  Of course I also told myself – she’s not even two, there’s no pressure but that didn’t make the nerves go away.  I was trying to analyze why — and I think I just wanted to get a glimpse of how she is at school.

On the morning of the program, we got off to a bad start.  Jamie woke up earlier than usual, which already gave me the sinking feeling she’d be tired and cranky early.  She didn’t want to eat breakfast either, and put up a fight when I dropped her off at school.  Her teacher had to pry her away from me crying, so I was bracing myself for the worst.  I picked a chair by the front, and crouched below some parents to stay out of sight.  My husband chose to stand at the corner so he could video the performance, but I worried she’d see him and want him to get her.

Then the kids walked out and took their places.  Jamie seemed to know the drill and didn’t show an ounce of fear or shyness.  She even saw her dad and waved hi, and when the music started, she just went and performed!  She sang, danced and did everything that they taught her, and she was as the teachers said, the best elf in their group.

Doing the actions like the other older kids! :)
Doing the actions like the other older kids! 🙂

I was so proud (and so relieved) I started to cry.  At one point she finally saw me (since I would stand in the middle of all the seated parents to get a picture) and cried out, “Mommy!”  I froze because I thought that was the end of it, but instead she looked steadily at me and continued to perform.  I’d meet her gaze and mouth the words so she’d know it was just like how we did it at home.

At the end of the program, Jamie happily climbed into my arms and looked pretty content with herself.  Incidentally, she was also the only child who walked up to Santa by herself to claim her gift.  During the snack reception a lot of the other kids’ parents came up to me and congratulated me on Jamie’s performance.  They asked me how I got Jamie to be so confident, and I really thought about it after that.  For her singing and dancing, I really honestly believe it’s because of Kindermusik.  I think her love for music just took over any kind of self-consciousness.  As for walking up to Santa, well… she just wanted that gift!

Sam the Brightly Colored Bird

In Sam’s case, when we first got the memo about a Christmas play last November, I thought it was just going to be her class performance.  Apparently, the school mounts a big production for all 200 students of the morning session, from prep to the 1st grade.  The play was Alice the Magic Dragon, and Sam’s class were the colorful birds.  Sam got sent home with a script, with a note that said we had to help her practice her line.  There was one highlighted line, which after some research, I learned was her one solo line!

Sam was very vocal about the play, the dances and the songs, so we’d practice them at home and rehearse her line every night.  She memorized it fairly easily (and I’d say her Kumon lessons helped in that aspect!) and tried to add in the right intonations to show emotion.

What was more stressful for me was the costume.  It was the parents’ responsibility and it called for colorful FEATHERSI had no idea where or how to put that together myself without the costume falling to pieces.  I had nightmares of my daughter shedding on stage.  I looked to outsource, but three dressmakers told me they were full for the holidays.  Even Sam’s ballet school (that normally makes costumes) couldn’t accommodate us.  Finally, our assistant at the office volunteered to go on a trip to one of our local markets.  She took one of Sam’s dresses so that they could approximate the measurements and she negotiated it be completed in a few days. That was a huge relief.

Main Photo: She didn't adjust the mic, but made sure she spoke into it.  Inset Photo: Sam right in the spotlight!
Main Photo: She didn’t adjust the mic, but made sure she spoke into it. Inset Photo: Sam right in the spotlight!

Sam’s bird costume turned out better than expected, and when we walked into school the morning of her play, the other moms complimented her on her feathers as she was literally covered in them from head to toe (some of the other birds had cloth feathers and didn’t look as fluffy as she did.  Actually, she looked more like a baby chick then a bird, but she loved it).  During the play, Sam said her one line fairly well (she elicited some chuckles from the audience) and danced front and center too (my kids are smaller than their classmates, I think that’s why the teachers situate them there).  I think Sam gets her body movement fluidity from her dad.  He always said I had two left feet.

I was proud of my little bird.  Growing up in the same school, I never liked performing in front of a large audience.  I was always very self-conscious (I think I still am!), and would rather help out in the safety of the shadows.  Sam performing couldn’t have been easy because I know she also gets self-conscious every now and then, but she enjoyed herself, and loved her chick-look.

I still have tons of photos to sort through (since I snapped the camera every second for every play) and several video clips to upload.  I watch the clips over and over again and they always bring a smile to my face, and admittedly, a sense of relief.  I’m so glad the girls are enjoying, learning and adjusting well.

I was chatting with some mom friends about the stress these kinds of productions bring upon us parents particularly during an already hectic time in the year.  One of my mom friends said that she avoids it and has her child skip the days they need to come in costume or dress up for plays.  She said it’s not worth the effort knowing her daughter might be too shy to perform anyway.  While her feelings and thoughts are valid (I have similar fears all the time), I can’t imagine not giving my girls a chance to work through and experience it.  Whatever the outcome there’s a lesson or two they (and we) can pick up from the entire process and to me that is priceless.  I’d take the sleepless nights, the nightmares and the stage-mom fears twice over if it meant giving them an experience I could never do for them.

Somehow in the end it pays off.  They know that I support them (as evidenced by all the practicing and downloading of songs) and encourage them; and no matter what the outcome would be they know it would be okay.  But they always know I’m excited for them and I hope that they’ll at least try.   I’d like to believe that’s also what pushes them to stand front and center and perform.