Our meatball poet

Maria and her third grade class hosted a poetry cafe on Tuesday this week. She kept enticing Jon and I with how much we’d enjoy her poem. I asked her a few nights before if she was nervous. She replied “a little but some kids stood up and cried or shook the entire time they spoke so I’m doing better than them.” God love her.
I arrived home Tuesday to find her already made up in her new Target dress, hair flowing, lip gloss on, and a dab of light pink eye shadow rubbed perfectly on her eyelids.
“What do ya think?” She knew exactly what I’d say.
“I think you are beautiful inside and out and I think you are gonna rock out the poetry cafe tonight.” She smiled wide and twirled around the driveway.
We ate some Mac-n-cheese and headed down to school with three boxes of Girl Scout cookies (I forgot I volunteered to bring a snack – I knew the 15 boxes we ordered would come through in a pinch).
As we were walking towards the school door, Maria looked back at me to tell me to hurry up. She stared at me from my head to my toes and cried “that’s what you’re wearing to the cafe?!” I thought I had done pretty good – I had on a new t-shirt, nice jeans and a pair of sporty gym shoes. I curtly replied “you gotta dress hip for these cafés.” She kept walking. When she looked back at me, I pouted. She gave a tiny smile and said “sorry mom, I’m just nervous.” Oh, sweet baby. I hugged her and she was off to her classroom. Mario and I were off, too, towards the baked goods table.
Grandma Meg surprised Ri and Jon made it on time, too (dad waited to go to Michigan until after the cafe, which landed him up north at 1 am – true love for his baby girl).
Ri gave an impeccable performance. She wrote about a Swedish meatball hosting a party for international friends. It was smart and funny (and of course, the best from her mama’s eyes!).



They had paper and chalk on the tables so families could write poems to the kids. I looked down after Ri finished and Mario had written “you did a gud job Ri”. Break my heart.

Afterwards, the kids rushed to the sweets table and ran around together giggling.

Mario took the stage to sing – he can’t resist not being in the spotlight.

As we left the school, Ri turned around and moved close to me.
“This may sound a little weird, mom but … I’m really proud of myself.”
The night bursted into color and the sky sang “Alleluia”. I was so excited to hear her say those words to me. I think she’s starting to believe more in herself and recognize all of the amazing qualities she possesses. There is nothing more gratifying to a mom that’s seen those qualities all along.

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