"Sparkle!" "Shine!" "Smile!"
This is what I am always telling my daughter, Elyssa Turquoise, who has been doing pageants ever since she could walk. As she gets older, she seems to "get it" and Elyssa usually ends up winning, which pleases me to no end.
Elyssa is a natural for the stage. Elyssa exudes charisma, spunk, and charm. She loves showing off for people and enjoys being on the stage. She is only four years old now but has already won several local and regional pageants. If she doesn't win, we are both disappointed, but never for long, because we both know that "there is always next time".
"Lyssa" isn't the first child in our family to do the pageant circuit. Our other daughter, Charm Tallent, who is seven, did it for two years before she decided that it was no longer for her. She now plays baseball and soccer instead and has proven to be an extremely gifted little athlete. We have a son, Eden Patriac, two years old, but he is too busy being an advanturous little boy, discovering the world around him, than to worry about things like pageants.
For now, Elyssa enjoys working pageants; she loves getting "glammed up" for the cameras and loves dancing and singing in front of people. I call her my little "Grand Ole Opry diva"; she can sing a Loretta Lynn song with style and finesse. It is so cute hearing a tiny little tot warbling "Coal Miner's Daughter", complete with facial expressions and movements guaranteed to get the audience to its feet. Loretta Lynn is Elyssa's favorite singer.
Elyssa doesn't know it yet, but next week, for her birthday, I am taking her to see Loretta Lynn in concert. She is playing at the local Opry house here in town and I've also arranged for Loretta to hear my daughter sing. This is going to be huge and a dream come true for her. I can't hardly wait to see the look on her face when she gets to realize that she is seeing her favorite singer face to face!
It's all I can do for my daughter. See, Elyssa is disabled. She has learning disabilities and sometimes the other pageant kids tease her, but thankfully Elyssa ignores them and just goes out and does her best. I know it isn't easy for her because sometimes at night, I hear her crying in her sleep.
She has had it rough. Besides her disability, Elissa's dad left me and the girls when she was two, two years ago; Jim left me for another woman and decided that he couldn't stand seeing his daughters being primed and preened for pageant stardom any longer. I was left to raise the girls on my own and I only entered them in pageants to give them something to shoot for and to give them a chance to overcome the cruelity of life.
Now Charm has moved on and Elyssa continues to sparkle on the stage. We do maybe two or three pageants a year, but some diehard moms do them just about every weekend. And some of the moms are downright cruel or unforgiving towards their daughters. I hear them screaming obsecnities or unkind words to their daughters and I have seen pageant veterans crack under the presssure because they couldn't get over something their parents told them prior to pageant time.
It's really heartbreaking.
I have always supported my daughters in their competition, and if they didn't win or do well, I just hugged them and told them it was okay; there was always next time. Then Charm quit the pageants and now I support her in her new endeavor in athletics. And I support Elyssa in her competitions and tell her that she is very special and that all she can do is be her best at what she does.
When the day comes that Elyssa says "No more!" I will take her out, but until then, all I can do is hope for one more win and delight in the surprise that is awaiting her next weekend for Thanksgiving (and her birthday).
~To be continued.~