Dance Mom

This weekend was the weekend I’ve been dreaming of since Sylvia was born. Ballet recital weekend. I’ve been looking forward to these days for quite a while and was just over-the-moon when we finally arrived at the date. Sylvia skipped into the venue with our make up and costume and many expectations for a wonderful evening.

But you see, ballet moming is not for the faint of heart. Oh my. I didn’t realize that a two hour performance requires 5 hours of my presence and attention. Also, the dressing room may have been an entrance to Hell given the temperature that we could decrease regardless of attempts. I was not aware of how many times tiny ballerinas need to go to the bathroom while fully dressed and perfectly bunned. It’s a lot.

So I left on Friday night, exhausted and hot. Sylvia fell asleep in the car on the way home and I did little more than remove her makeup before putting her to bed. I then crawled in bed myself, grateful that I have served my time and would be able to sit out in the audience on Saturday and just enjoy. At 430am, she woke me up with the announcement that she was going to throw up. And she did. A lot.

We made the trek back to the recital the following day with a bucket, a roll of paper towels and the prayer that she wouldn’t puke on stage. You know what? She didn’t. And she went out on that stage with a big smile on her face and danced her heart out. She came off the stage and said she was ready to go home. I’m proud of her her being brave and dancing on stage like that, but I’m even more proud that she realized how tough she actually is. It’s no fun to perform when you don’t feel well (trust me, lots of experience) and yet she did it with so much grace and maturity.

Despite my personal discomfort this weekend, I have never been so impressed. I grew up dancing for a studio that prided itself on perfection, so I had expectations of what ballet would be like for her. Almost every expectation I’ve had has been flawed. During her tech rehearsal, the director sat the little girls down and talked to them about how to take care of their bodies: eating good meals with lots of protein, making sure they were hydrated and resting every night leading up to the performance.

Mistakes were made. Sylvia’s class is 4 and 5 year olds. But not once was it ever mentioned. Instead, her teacher and the directors focused on how proud they were of each child. I have walked off a stage to criticism and was so delighted that Sylvia didn’t have that experience. In fact, as she and I were talking about the show yesterday, she mentioned that she made a mistake during her dance and then said “but it’s ok because I didn’t let it stop me“.

I’m so proud of her. And even more grateful that we chose a studio that is helping me build her up like this. Even if it means sweating half my body weight out in a cramped dressing room. I hope I can be a dance mom for… ever.

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