By Amy Tittle
The 2014 Watermelon Pageant happened to be my daughter’s very first pageant, ever! Water Valley once again proved its all-time small-town charm to my family and me by accommodating this adorable event. All I heard for weeks was how excited she was to walk on stage in a beautiful sparkly princess dress and wave and smile at the judges and her family and friends.
We started looking for a dress early and ended up at Bonnie’s formal gown shop in Bruce, the store has a great reputation for gorgeous gowns and it definitely did not let me down when we showed up on our hunt to find the perfect dress. (Just a quick side note, her little brother Levi had to go with us and was such a trooper, poor little guy was dress slapped in the face multiple times from all the fluffy but beautiful dresses while walking through the store. Who knew crinoline could be so cruel, right?)
After pushing my way through a very beautiful but thick forest of dresses, we finally made it to the dressing room with our hands full of dresses. The colors varied from white to pink to green and so forth. After an exhausting two hours of unzipping, bustling and other extravagant dressing exercises, she came to her final decision. The “dress.” It is tangerine in color with iridescent jewels on the bodice trimmed with a delicate sweetheart neckline, it seemed to be made just for her. Her decision was made and she left with a bigger smile and more excited than she had arrived.
Shelby’s excitement not only came from the experience of wearing the dress or having her hair curled and pinned up or the opportunity to wear some of mommy’s lipstick in public, it was more about being with other girls her age and giggling, laughing and sharing these unforgettable moments with her friends and family.
She had so much fun and I could tell she relished each moment. From the beginning to the final close of the night, she smiled and breathed in each second. She had so much fun congratulating all the contestants and letting them know how well they did and how beautiful they all looked. She felt honored to congratulate the girls who were crowned and her joy beamed from her sweet smile from the stage to her pillow that evening. It was delightful to see all the beautiful girls that participated and the family and friends that showed up that night to support them.
When we first arrived she was very nervous but as each group progressed towards her group, she grew more and more confident and ready to take the stage. She never mentioned winning; she was more worried about doing every turn right without tripping. The very fact that she was able to gracefully float across the stage with a smile made this little city girl very happy. She was beyond elated to be pinned first alternate and her daddy and I are super proud, not because she was pinned but because she made it a point to have fun. Her focus was on doing the best she could and supporting the other girls and representing her best for the judges and our beloved new found hometown. So in between school, dance and feeding her goats, chickens and ponies, she stated that she already is starting to throw around thoughts of what color her dress will be for next year.
It’s never dull growing a jeweled rose.