We are in the middle of recital week. In two days, the Princess will have the first of two shows. She’s in 10 numbers Friday night, and 8 Saturday afternoon. She has been working incredibly hard this summer, adding two dances to her normal class schedule. I was exhausted as we were driving home last night, having run through the closest drive-through to get the starving girl some sustenance. She had been at the studio for 8.5 hours (with a three-hour break in the middle).
While driving, I thought to myself how tired I was, how many things I still need to get done before dress rehearsal tomorrow. I mentally worked through my check-list, then talked through a list of things I wanted her to do before tomorrow afternoon. Then it hit me….ugh…I’m a dance mom. No, I’m not a Dance Mom like those of reality television fame, but I am a dance mom. My thoughts circle around ribbons and elastics on pointe shoes, tights, whether her jazz shoes fit, the need to order just the right color Converse for one of her hip hop dances, where to get an Alice in Wonderland wig this time of year…..
It’s been a year-and-a-half since she hung up her soccer cleats. She walked away from soccer. I walked away from being the team manager. Instead of spending hours in the cold, wet, or excessive heat on a sideline, I spend hours on a padded bench or folding plastic chair watching her rehearse, learn, and grow as a dancer. I read, I play Candy Crush, I talk with the other parents and grandparents as we wait out class after class. I put together fundraiser baskets, sell raffle tickets, make dance grams, sew ribbons and elastics, alter costumes, praise, encourage, and give attitude checks.
She is not perfect. She is far from the best. But she is focused, and she’s determined. She set goals for herself, goals she didn’t tell anyone about. She just quietly set about reaching them. I think she’s well on her way. I am amazed by the things she can do. I am particularly amazed how far she’s come even in just the last six months.
I know when I watch her perform Friday night, there will be tears. It is an amazing thing to watch your child live her dream, to see her inner light shine so incredibly bright as she does something she loves so much. I don’t push her to do this. Truthfully, when she started that little Saturday morning, 3 and 4 year olds, ballet/tap combo class years ago, I never imagined she would still be dancing at nearly-13. I was merely trying to overcome some of the testosterone that dominates our household. But here we are now, 9 years later, and she’s still dancing.
Dress rehearsal is tomorrow afternoon/night. I’m expecting a meltdown any moment. She is tired. She’s been pushing herself. I’ve been hounding her to eat, to sleep, to rest. She says she will rest on Sunday. 😉
Photos are 1) My Peach Blossom from Nutcracker 2013; and 2) the Princess in her first recital in June, 2005