Irish Dance Girls!
You know how someone imprints on your heart, in way that is permanent, and that impacts your whole life? Someone who is not your partner, not your child, not your family.
And it was so unexpected. But that's what happened with our family and our dearest Irish Dance Teacher, Bella Yerina. Our daughter Jackie, when she was in the 3rd grade went to an Irish Dance performance at her school, came home that day, and said, "I want to do that." And her little sister soon followed in her footsteps.
And so for almost 20 years we were an Irish Dance family under the tutelage of Bella Yerina, head of the O'Connor Irish Dance School. What joy we had! Even my oldest daughter, Jennifer, who did not dance, was taught by her - by her courage, her passion, her integrity, and her love.
Irish Dance is an at form, but also a sport. It requires strength, stamina, grace, and poise. And one more thing. Competitiveness. My girls were very competitive. -- and they won plenty -- in fact, both of my girls traveled to Ireland for the World Championships! But In order to win a lot, you must lose a lot. And they lost. A lot.
It is, however, the losses that made the most difference in building their character. While it was always difficult in the moment for their little hearts, and egos, in the long run, it was the losses that made them the women that they are today. Restarting, regaining confidence, getting back on the dance floor after defeat -- all so necessary. And for all of that, I am very grateful to Irish Dance.
And grateful for our Bella, who is now with the angels and her dear husband John. We will never meet another like her. But are infinitely better people for having done so.
Love you, dear Bella.