17May '12

Celebrating Grads-Jenna

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The smile.

It said so much about her.

That was my first impression.

I was first struck by Jenna about six years ago. I went to watch a Pantuso Dance Recital and my then four year old and I enjoyed the whole show, but at one point this strong tapper came on stage and even though she was part of a crowd of dancers we couldn’t take our eyes off her. Her smile shone so brightly and the joy she shared while dancing filled us up.

My daughter named her smiley girl. She was pretty sure she was a celebrity. When I would see her around town and point her out to my daughter s would get shy –  “What smiley girl shopped at the same grocery store as us?”

Eventually, we came to know her as Jenna and she came further into our life. She even babysat my star-struck child, and now my children have followed her footsteps into dance. I am like many, who when they meet Jenna they come easily to care about her.

When Jenna’s father contacted me a year ago to plan Jenna’s grad session my heart did a pitter-patter. First off, you have to love a dad who is so tuned into honoring and celebrating his daugther that he plans a year in advance. Secondly, as I have gotten to know more about Jenna my feeling of being honored to capture this time in her life deepened.

Jenna is no ordinary teenager. Yes, she can dance and perform with so much heart it will give you goosebumps, but she is so much more than that. She has a unique bravery. One that leads her to do the right thing, to take chances and to be herself, which we all know isn’t always easy, never-less in your teen years.

As she heads off to college there are so many people excited for her. There are also many who will miss her glorious presence.

Thank you Jenna, you make me smile.