Sometimes it's nice to get dressed up. To have an evening out with grown ups. To be on a date.
Saturday was one of those nights. Each year, the school holds it's annual ball, a school fundraiser unlike any bake sale or catalog purchase order in any other school I've seen. Yes, we're a private school and we have very wealthy students with even wealthier parents. It's mind boggling sometimes, but for the most part, they're kids like any other ones I've taught before.
Joey and I have been to the ball three times now. Each year, we've been fortunate enough to be invited by parents who pay for our tickets (over $1000 HKD a piece). Putting aside any thoughts we might have about the auction and other fundraising and the sheer amount of wealth we're surrounded by, it's actually a lovely evening. Good food, good company, and a fabulous view of the city.
We accidentally let it slip that we were going out for the evening about a week before we actually did, which created much anxiety for our little Ella. She reminds me so much of my sister - she worries about things, she shows genuine concern for people when they are hurt (I think I've mentioned this before), she would just rather we were all under the same roof, close by so she can be near us. So, hearing that we'd be going out caused her to worry. A lot. I know most parenting books and parenting advice states that it's better to foreshadow events for children, to give them time to prepare. This isn't so for our Ella. We have to keep them a bit secret so she doesn't spend too much time thinking about us not being home. She spent most of the week asking us when the ball would be - at breakfast, lunch and dinner - Are you going to the ball tonight, Mama?
In the end, she did quite well. A good family friend - Cathi, whose husband Mark baptized Cally - was in HK visiting, and between her and Nining, there was enough to distract her and keep her happy for the evening when we were away. She cried a little, right at bed time, but looked back on her night the next day to tell me what fun she'd had.
I did quite well for the evening, too, especially considering these were the shoes I wore. Oh, they were so fun to wear. I have to admit, they are a tad bit impractical...but who wants to wear practical shoes all the time? You can see from the picture, taken just before we walked out the door, that little Ella was following me all around. Just hold my hand, Mama. So we had to take one pic with her in it. She loved my shoes. It's funny, both she and Cally wear my flats when I come home from work.
Oh, sweet Ella. I love every little thing about who she is becoming. And so, I've got to make sure to protect her. Last week turned into another difficult week on the field for her. She's had a rough time with some of the little girls in our neighbourhood bullying her, saying mean things. I've dealt with it over the last eight months or so that we've lived here, and it's taken a toll on her self esteem. Last week was the last straw for Joey and I. Time to take some serious action to prevent it from happening again, before any permanent damage is done.