My daughter had her sixth dance recital this weekend. I cannot believe another year is over. I am one of those moms who loves the entire process. I didn’t take dance growing up and maybe that is why I put her in a class when she was a wee 3 years old. I love everything that dance teaches young girls.
This year she was a little bit bigger but she still needed mom. I helped with her hair and makeup just like all of the years past. This year instead of the standard bun, her teacher opted for her class to wear curls. What a treat for me to curl her hair for the big night. I did hear myself say something that I never envisioned saying to my 8-year-old daughter:
Just because I burnt your scalp with a curling iron once does not mean that I will do it again. Now stop crying before your mascara starts to run!
Ahhh that will be a great story to tell when she is older. We made it through and then we were off to recital, all of the family in tow. We always support one another even if some of us (her brothers) are less than excited to do so. We are trying to teach our kids that family always supports one another. Family matters.
This was the first year that I didn’t stay with her backstage, as she waited on her dances. She is getting older and I am learning to let go a little. Just a little. This year she didn’t need me hovering over her making sure that everything was perfect. She wanted to spend the backstage time with friends. I understood that. She is growing up after all.
So I took my seat with the rest of the family and we waited for the show to start. The boys were good for about…..six minutes before the boredom set in. Not me though. I couldn’t wait for the show to start.
This recital had girls of all ages performing. There was a little something for everyone. Big girls and tiny girls and every girl in between. My daughter is one of the in between girls. She is no longer little yet she is not yet a big girl either. She is making her way.
The show started with a fun opening act and so it was finally underway. There were several numbers before it was my daughter’s first dance. I was having a great time. I love all types of dancing. It was perfect….until they brought out the tiny three-year olds. Gulp.
The curtain opened and there they were, tiny sweet little things, wearing the fluffiest, cotton candy colored dresses. They stood there with bunned hair and little baby cheeks. Some of them still had baby fat rolls on their adorable little legs. They waited for the music to start. And then it did.
Now I don’t know if you have every watched three-year old ballerinas but it is one of the sweetest things that you could ever see in your life. The teacher knows how to pick the perfect song to really get you choked up too. One about how they may be tiny now but one day they will be a big. I sat there watching them spin around and point their little toes. All I could think about was when my daughter was three.
Her first recital, when it was curtain time, my wee one didn’t want to go on. I had to stand stage right where she could see me just to get her out there. She cried and cried all while doing each dance move, in an adorable three-year old fashion. At one point she ran off to me. I told her what a great job she was doing and how proud I was. I asked her if she thought she could go back out there and finish, and reluctantly she said that she would.
When she returned to the stage she received an applause from the crowd for having the courage to come back to perform. Well that eruption of clapping drove her from the stage once again, right into my arms, and that was perfectly okay.
Word of advice, always buy a copy of the performance dvd if one is available because that is a moment that I have watched over and over again on my tv. Priceless.
As I watched those little girls on the stage last night, I felt my eyes swell with tears. My baby was not so tiny anymore. She didn’t need me to stand stage right and encourage her. I sure miss those days. My son asked me why I was crying. I told him that one day he would understand.
The next act was the big girls, the highschool aged group. They were so graceful and precise. It was obvious that they had been doing this for years. I thought about their ages and how soon my daughter would be there, before I was ready for her to be for sure. Again, my eyes filled with tears. She was on her way to becoming one of these exquisite dancers. She would be there all too soon. Why did I have to get so emotional about these things?
So the big girls were done and finally it was time for my daughter. The girl who was not a baby and not a big girl, but on her journey, somewhere in between. I watched her with such pride. My heart was so full it surely almost exploded. She had more grace and poise than years before. I could tell just how much she had matured. Yet at certain times she would take a stumble or forget a move and I would catch a glimpse of the little girl that she used to be. My daughter was growing up.
I am so thankful for my kids. I am glad to have sons and a daughter to raise. The differences between boys and girls are many. I always knew that I wanted to experience both sides of the coin. But one thing that is the same, whether boy or girl, we are here to watch them grow. It is a beautiful thing but also it makes me sad at times.
I ache for that tiny little girl who needed her mommy by her side. Yet I cannot wait to see the amazing ballerina that she will become one day. It is so bittersweet. No matter where she is on her journey, I am grateful to be her mother. I am so grateful that I get a front seat for the dance.