Capturing tradition in a child

Emily & DilonIntroducing Emily Grace. My second born. Just turned three. Strong and determined, spirited and joyful. Already an accomplished goal setter, and the physical and emotional image of her beautiful Mama.

From the moment we found out Emily was coming along, I have been determined that she will always know her heritage (all be they multiple). On the Polish side, this comes with the inevitable rite of passage of involvement in some form of traditional dancing group.

Just a quick aside here to describe the group itself. A long existing “club” I guess you might say. It has had pass through it a multitude of Chicago children born to parents with mostly recent Polish ancestry, if not born there themselves. It is governed by an iron handed “den mother”, that possesses a complete lack of awareness that these parents may have anything at all to do outside of offering their beloved spawn up for sacrifice to the alter of her world. She controls it all. And must be obeyed. It is here I struggle to do what I advise in my cultural work, that is to suspend my expectations of how I would like to see things run. This past weeks photo session is a classic example of this. We summarily decked our little mites out in the traditional costumes, complete with full facial makeup… lippy and the whole nine yards. Ever tried that on a three year old? The Polish have a wonderful ability to operate in a setting of complete chaos, with no respect for time frames, including punctuality. Just when you think the everyone is on the same page, it just as quickly falls apart.

Emily & Ciocia at dancingYou can see some of this taking root in our little Emily’s urgency in having her skirt tied. There just can not be a delay, until you’re all ready of course! Happliy though, I must report a great swell of pride in seeing our beautiful little girl come to life in her dancing. Being a full year younger than most others in her class has forced her to “grow up” quick. The coordination required of this precious little brain to process dance moves along with singing in Polish is a source of amazement to me. Oh yes, and also have time for more than a little mischief!

Fun times ahead.


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