Monday, January 9, 2012

Crowning Glory

Mireya is our 'Guerrera', our Warrior Princess!  Reya has endured a lot this past year, but has taken it all in stride with grace, poise and a Spirit of ease.  It is only fitting that she officially be given the title.  This weekend Mireya participated in the Miss Chesterfield Scholarship Pageant and she was crowned (and sashed) a Miss Chesterfield Princess.  Throw all those visions of  'Tots and Tiaras' out of your head.  There were no flippers, spray tans or big hair, but a group of little girls allowed to collectively be recognized in this non-competitive category for girls ages 4-9 years old and they LOVED every second of it.  No offense to the 'Tots and Tiaras' set, if you have a princess that loves all of the other elements of pageantry and you can roll with your thing.  I appreciated this as a non-competitive, service oriented division of Miss Chesterfield fostering esteem, confidence and comaraderie amongst their Princesses.

The Princess segment of the pageant required the girls to introduce themselves on stage, stating their name, age and school they attend.  Mireya politely declined most every attempt I made to have her 'practice' doing this.  She managed to softly squeak it out a few times, after which she would cover her mouth and start blushing or giggling profusely.  In rehearsal there were a handful of us in the audience as the participants did sound checks and a run through of the lineup.  I made sure to express to Reya there would be a lot more people in the audience, and not to be frightened but to introduce herself and she would be escorted to her spot.   I really didn't know what to expect when she got up on stage on pageant night, but she walked over to the microphone and simply stated her name, age and then very quickly covered her mouth in a quick pause as if to say 'OMGoodness...I did it'.  It was adorable.  We were so proud of her.

The Princesses had special and reserved front row seating so they could watch the competitive portion of the Pageant unfold.  Mireya loves glitz and glam and was captivated by the swimsuit and talent segments. The true highlight for her was the 'beautiful' gowns and shoes they wore. She squealed with excitement as each girl graced the stage.

Mireya rolled with the Court of Princesses 'as if' (yes throw a little valley girl twist on that), and the 'if' is not that she is several years younger than the other little ladies.  It only became really apparent she was the youngest as we watched her bopping and fidgeting on the front row while the other young ladies sat quietly and fully focused.  The joy of a toddler's attention span when the the parade of dresses end and the music stops. I could 'see' the bubble above her head 'Emcees, who needs Emcees, just keep the dresses and performances rolling' as the distinguished judges scores are tabulated.  The Emcees, Tiffany Hazelwood and NBC12 Morning News Anchor, Gray Hall did a fantastic job. 

The Miss Chesterfield Scholaship Pageant is a preliminary to the Miss Virginia Scholarship Pageant.  Miss Virginia goes on to compete for the title of Miss America.  The Miss America Organization has one of the nations leading programs and is the largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women.  Last year, the combined Miss America Organization made available more than $45 million dollars in cash and scholarship assistance.  Amazing!

The Miss America Organization is an avenue for young girls and women not only to earn scholarships, but to serve the community.  The Miss America Organization has partnered with Children’s Miracle Network to raise funds and awareness for children’s hospitals throughout the United States.  The Children's Miracle Network is an organization very near and dear to our hearts as Mireya's complete medical care is administered and managed at Children's Hospital of Richmond @ VCU.  It has been a tremendous blessing to have a local hospital with resources and specialized care to deal with Mireya's life-threatening diagnosis earlier this year.  During the summer we had the opportunity as a family to be live on-air during the Annual Children's Miracle Network Telethon to share our story and help raise awareness and money for the Children's Miracle Network. 

So what's next?  Our 'pageant' eyes have been opened and after we wipe away the glitter and sparkles, we're looking forward to a year of workshops, events, community service appearances and social activities for Mireya and her new pageant sisters.  January is Mentoring Month.  Miss Chesterfield and her court have their first offical appearance next week to support the Chesterfield Public Education Foundation's Mega Mentors program.  The girls get to dress up, throw on their crown and sash to represent the young people of Chesterfield County.  There are some ground rules that accompany the use of said sash and crown.  They are only to be used for 'official' Miss Chesterfield events.  So donning your crown and sash as you play dress up at home with your sister is not in the lineup, and so we've made sure to tuck them far out of reach.  I don't know what kind of zirconias or crystals they use in that crown but it has serious BLING.  I think there are flawless, with very little occlusions (VVSI or II) and the color is brilliant and as far as carats are concerned...this baby is loaded.  Just a quick moment of the 4 C's in shopping for diamonds.  I still remember after all these years. We also love and appreciate that the Miss Chesterfield team considered all things and recognized the challenge in Mireya being crowned, as her hair is just starting to grow back from her chemotherapy.  The team contacted the distributor and a special crown was created for Mireya to ensure it would stay on.

A very special 'Congratulations' to my dear friend Kyle Grinnage.  Kyle has been working with the Ms. Chesterfield Scholarship Pageant for the last few years, but this year she became the Executive Director and this was officially her first pageant on her own.  Kyle has been after me for a few years about entering Paris into this pageant.  After seeing and experiencing the Miss Chesterfield pageant, I would love for Paris to have the opportunity to be a part of it (those scholarship awards are speaking to me).  There is so much that goes into pulling this off successfully, and Kyle and her team did a tremendous job.  I'm so proud of her and look forward to supporting her in this role for years to come.  Mireya's health continues to improve and we're so happy she had the opportunity to participate and now be a part of the Miss Chesterfield Program.  To learn more about the program, see pictures of the event and meet our 2012 Miss Chesterfield, Delesia Amanda Watson visit Attached is a link of our personal photos and a quick video of Mireya's intro beginning on page three of the photostream.  Enjoy and look out for more updates as Mireya serves this year.   

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