I’m sitting in a darkened auditorium watching excited girls spin around and dance up and down the aisles. Chattering and talking sentences that never get completed as another dancer interrupts with a different great idea. It’s dance recital rehearsal and it’s the first time some of them have seen this stage. Months of hard work finally pays off as they prepare to don those costumes tomorrow for their night in the spot light.
I’ve done this before…actually I’ve done this many times before. The first time I sat here was over 20 years ago with daughter #1. Sister #2 joined her a couple of years later and sister #3 started her dancing career 16 years after that.
I no longer need to attend the classes to change the shoes between tap, ballet and jazz anymore…she can do that herself and though I accomplish a household chore or two in that 90 minutes at home, I miss out on the discussions about nude tights vs. fishnets and where the cheapest ballet shoes can be found. Now the night before recital I realize it doesn’t make a bit of difference. Her name has been taped inside each leotard, tight and prop and she is ready to go.
The excitement the girls show is only dimmed a little by the excitement Sue the dance teacher shows. I wish I could bottle up her energy on this night to open on a day that feels a little drab. Sue was #1’s teacher and 20 years later, #3 gets to learn at her hand…or should I say toes? Originally, we chose Sue’s Dancing School because it was convenient and it seemed like all little girls went there when they turned 3. It was the talk of the town.
Years later, when I became a mom of a preschooler again, I knew I needed to seek Sue out. I called her and told her that I had a new daughter through adoption. We needed dance lessons, not because she needed to learn new dance steps but because we needed to find some new friends. My friends from dance classes past had graduated to finding colleges for their kids and planning weddings and I was back to square one.
I told Sue I was in the market for some new friends. I asked her not to put my daughter in a class based on skill, ability or even age, but to put her in a class with good Moms. I had been prayerful about finding some friends and I trusted Sues’s judgement. That first year, I spend an hour and a half each week getting to know a new group of Moms. We chatted about school issues, TV shows and recipes. We joked that we should’ve started knitting or doing something productive, but chatting with these moms 20 + years my junior was productive. I now have friendly faces to say “hello” to at school concerts. I can call them and ask if all the other third grade girls truly are wearing bras and how we can cope with new teachers who give too much homework and no recess.
Times have changed since my older daughters were wearing tutus and tap shoes. Some things for the good and some things in my opinion for the bad, but there is still some things that haven’t changed.
The smiles on these little dancers and the joy they will bring tomorrow night at recital.
The chuckles that will erupt when one little hat falls into a 3 year old’s eyes and she twirls across the stage in the wrong direction.
The pride the girls will feel when the crowd applauds.
And, Sue’s smile as it emotes all the love and pride she feels for each of her little dancers.
Thanks, Sue, for the lessons, dance and otherwise learned in ninety minutes a week over the years.