So today, July 27, 2015 is our Connor’s 23rd birthday. Yes he was my the baby !!! He is the cute little guy right smack dab in the middle. What can you say about him. The first thing that comes to mind is he is just the best. He was an adorable baby, the cutest little toddler ever. He was very healthy, and never gave me a minute of trouble ever, no really never.
He was his own person right from the get/go. He takes after both of us. I think he got the best of both of us. He got his good looks from Michael and my sense of style. He is loving, and kind. A real hard worker like his dad. He is also so funny. He can and does make me laugh always at the time I really need a good laugh 😉
He’s organized and very professional on the stage. He is a professional ballet dancer. We have loved watching him grow as a performer & dancer. From the first time he set foot on the stage when he was only 4 years old. He was, “John Thomas,” in his older brother’s Highschool play. Then he did musical’s at the community theater in the summer. I remember one of the musical’s was, “Joseph, and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.” He was playing one of the kids when one of the older dancers stepped on his foot w/her character heels. She just smashed his foot because all he was wearing was his ballet slipper, but he just kept on performing. When he got off the stage, he was crying in excruciating pain. His older sister Lizzie went to see what was up and she saw the damage that was done to his foot. She cleaned it up and he finished his show. Here are some early pictures of his performing days. They look like they were mostly from, “The Nutcracker.” I’m sorry Connor, I just had to post these. I think they are so adorable ❤
Fast forward to high school. He attended the Chicago Academy for the Arts, a prep school for artist. In his case a dancer. It was a demanding school, he had an hour commute starting at 7am, which means he was up at 6am. He drove to the train w/his dad, took the train to Chicago’s Union Station where he then caught the bus to the school. From 8 to noon was Reading, Writing, Arithmetic then lunch. From 1/5 dance and more dance. At 5pm took the bus back to Union Station to catch the train to be home again at 6pm. He was 14 years old when this dance started and those were the early days home. Usually it was like 10pm b/c he would be dancing for some company (interning/dancing for free) to get experience. It was a grind. Everyone talks about overnight sensations, no such thing. It takes years of hard work to become an over night sensation. A lot of determination and discipline. Constant criticism. Your turnout is bad, your feet are bad. Your arms are not in the right position. Very, very hard work. You better come with a steel backbone, because they will try to break you. And let’s not forget the amount of stress on your body day in and day out. A whole lot of pain.
So the next time you go to the theater, make sure you give those performer’s a standing ovation. I always do. I know how hard they work, for not very much money (starving artist, hello) to bring beauty into this crazy thing we call life. Here are a few pics from high school, mainly dances b/c it’s like against the law to publish anything like a performance.
Then graduation. This school was literally prep school. You don’t go to college. You dance. You get yourself on a company and work !!! You work very hard and hope you get a spot on a company very, very hard. He was one of the lucky ones because he was good. He liteally walked off the stage and got a job as a trainee on Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. Very cool. Of course he thought he had arrived and was moving downtown Chicago to dance on a major company but NOT in comes mom. I don’t think so, ah you’ll be home and still commuting for awhile. That was good thing. 18 years old on a trainee salary just won’t cut it, but Connor being Connor was okay with that. Like I said he never gave me any guff. He was just the go-along kind of guy ❤
After a couple of years on Joffrey he did a stint up in Milwaukee with Milwaukee Ballet. Again a trainee on a trainee salary. They did provide some housing, so that was a break and his brother Matthew was on the company so they could kind of look out for each other. After Milwaukee, they both ended up in Richmond on Richmond Ballet. Still starving artist, but he is are doing what he loves to do, dancing. Dancing is his passion. It has to be because the pay isn’t that great and it is hard on the body and the mind. Very stressful work. He got injured last season, rolled his ankle playing a game of pick up basketball after a show. All I can say is really Connor. Not the smartest thing to do if you are a dancer.
He is also a rabid Chicago Blackhawk’s fan. We watch it together as much as we can. I miss him everyday but he’s happy, working, and loving his life. I/we are so proud of you and the man you have become. I wish I could be to with you to celebrate this day, July 27, the day the world changed for the better because you were born. I hope you have a great day and know that your mom & dad are back here missing and loving you. I’ll leave you with a few more pics of this year and the great Blackhawk season we shared together. I make quite a few withdrawl’s from that bank account of memories and it gets me though the lonely times that I miss you. I love your great smile, that hair that is to die for and I really love the glasses. I can finally see your beautiful eyes because they are open and not squinting. I love you, Connie. It’s been a great 23 year run. Looking forward to being part of your life’s journey.
Well I hope you enjoy my blog post for today and the pictures. We love you to the Moon. Mom & Dad ❤
Oh and Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Connie, Happy Birthday to you… And we wish you many more, and we wish you many more, may God bless and keep you, Happy Birthday tooooo youuuuuu ❤