I sat peering through the lens of my camera as the red velvet curtain pulled back. I‘d been waiting for this moment since the day Bitty was born. The sound of “Chattanooga Choo Choo” began to fill the auditorium as the crowd hushed. This was her moment – a chance to step into the spotlight and prove that she was not only able, she was worthy.
Tucked behind the cutout of a train, Bitty stood with her peers waiting for a cue from her teacher to take her position on stage.
And then it happened.
Without hesitation, Bitty’s million-dollar smile peered out from behind the caboose as she proudly made her stage debut.
I quickly glanced down the audience row where her brother, sisters and daddy sat just to see the look on their faces – that look you get when you realize a piece of your heart is walking outside your body. It’s a look we’ve become accustomed to in our family.
A look that reminds me that the greatest blessing we have is each other.
From that moment forward, I have no idea how the rest of the dancers performed because I couldn’t take my eyes off of Bitty – and I don’t think I was the only one. Although some girls tapped louder and kicked higher, it was Bitty that held the audience captive with her joyful spirit and beautiful expression of dance.
As the crowd erupted in applause, I was reminded that humanity is hungry for moments like these – moments that change our hearts and our minds.
Perhaps the best moment of all was watching her brother, Beau — who insisted on wearing his “handsome jacket” — push his way through the crowd to deliver a bouquet of flowers to her from our garden.
Brava, Bitty! You are a dancer!