We’ve wrapped Recital Weekend 2015. The Princess is taking a recovery day, sleeping in late, and resting mostly. It’s been a long, hectic week. Her costumes have been put away, her makeup box stowed, her flowers sit in a vase on the kitchen counter, and we are left with the memories of the weekend.
I sat in the theater for her dances during dress rehearsal on Thursday night. I found myself tearing up with each number. I was texting my sister, who is also mom to a ballerina, and it hit me why I was so emotional watching her. She isn’t playing at dance anymore. Yes, she does still do it for fun, but it’s real now. She IS a dancer. Recitals and shows are routine. She doesn’t need my help to keep her costumes and all their parts together. She doesn’t need me there to reapply her lipstick. I don’t have to put her dance bag together, fill her water bottle, check for all her shoes and tights. She does it herself. She even did her own hair and makeup this year, including false eyelashes – a bane of my existence. She manages prep for quick changes. This is her gig. i’m not really needed, except for transport, and time is running out on even that job. She’s a dancer.
She performed her competition solo during the show Friday night. I was watching, not volunteering, for that show. About twenty seconds into her routine, her foot got caught on her skirt in a jump, and she fell. She hit the ground hard, with a loud “thunk.” Spouse whispered in my ear, “Was that supposed to happen?” “No,” I said. Thoughts flew threw my mind in those milliseconds, knowing if she got up, it would be okay, needing her to get up and keep going. She did get up, and she finished her dance. She probably danced it better than I’ve ever seen her dance it, and trust me, I’ve seen her dance it a thousand times.
It never crossed my mind to go backstage to her after she finished. Whether injured or not, I knew there were people back there to handle it. I’ve learned over the years of my children playing sports it’s best to leave it to coaches and teachers. I stay on the sidelines unless and until the person in charge says otherwise. So I didn’t go backstage. I didn’t check my phone. About ten minutes later, with a few numbers left to intermission, I took Little Man out to the lobby. He was in the middle of a meltdown. We weren’t out there for two minutes when one of the moms volunteering backstage came running up to me, telling me they’d been looking for me since Princess came offstage. I rushed back to find her in the hallway, ice on her knee, leg elevated. I could tell she had been crying – her false eyelashes had fallen off, and most of her eye makeup wiped away. Her directors, teacher, parent volunteers backstage, and dance friends had been there for her, calmed her down, and put her back together. She was putting her hair up in a ballet bun in preparation for the second half of the show. She had no intention of sitting it out.
I helped get her back to her dressing room, where her classmates took her under their wing and got her ready. I went back to the audience, and watched her finish the night without faltering. She’s badly bruised, but nothing is broken nor torn. She made it through yesterday’s show with the aid of a knee brace for cushioning. I hadn’t realized until yesterday how many times that knee hits the floor in all her dances. I flinched every single time.
While I wish I had been there for her in the moment, I know I couldn’t have done any more for her than was done by those who were with her. She’s growing up. There will be more and more times coming when I will not be there, cannot be there. I am so proud of her for carrying on, finishing the show, and then going through it all again yesterday. I’m proud of the way she handled herself in the moment of the fall. I’m thankful for the studio we are part of and how much of a family it is. I’m grateful for directors and teachers who truly care about my little girl.