Thursday, May 1, 2014

on being a dance mom

Disclaimer-I'm not really a dance mom.  My kid practices ballet every Wednesday for 45 minutes and will perform in a dance recital in a few shorts weeks.

And I'm a bundle of nerves.  A straight up mess.

You see I was never a dancer or a cheerleader. I played basketball in my younger days and much to my daddy's disappointment the only 2 points I ever scored was on the wrong goal.  I think I told y'all that.  I played tennis and ran track a few years and thoroughly enjoyed those sports.  I should add here Dad got over his disappointment in my basketball abilities or lack thereof rather quickly and supported me in all the sports I chose to participate in.

My sister was a cheerleader.  In fact she could round off back handspring in our narrow hallway and I always thought that was the coolest thing.  (Hi Mel!)  And I'm pretty sure there's a picture of my mom doing the splits on top of a pyramid somewhere in my grandmother's house.

And don't get me started on the hubs.  Pretty sure in addition to being valedictorian he played every sport his high school offered.

I'm thinking now all these family dynamics are beginning to add up and poor Carsyn might have just inherited her momma's lack of "performance" ability.  So let's back up.

Carsyn has been wanting to be a ballerina ever since she watched the production of the Nutcracker at the local theatre when she was just over a year old.  You may remember this year she was unable to be in it because she wasn't potty trained and that ended up being the deciding factor that girlfriend was ready to wear panties.

All is great.  She's skipping out of dance class every week and I'm not going to lie, getting her dressed up in tutus is kind of exciting.  I mean who doesn't want to wear a tutu?!  Several weeks ago I noticed the other girls coming out of class dancing.  I might have asked one mom (MISTAKE!) if her daughter knew the routine and she might have replied that she knew every bit and performed it for her all of the time.  I might have observed that the same little girl really didn't seem to know her routine tonight while we observed but that would make me catty, right?

Moving right along tonight was observation night and I sat in the back of the class with my camera all ready.  I noticed right off the bat Carsyn did not know the routine and got a little worried.  I tried not to watch the other girls but I noticed a lot of them did not know the whole thing so I'm not sweating.  Its all about fun, right?

Then Carsyn starts crying and runs to sit on my lap.  She's bawling and I cannot understand her at all.  She says she's sleepy and wants to go home.  Then she says she hears Hanky crying and it bothers her. Part of me wants to be tough and tell her to march back up there and do her performance.  But I can't.  I just sit there with her in my lap crying and bite my lip to keep from crying too.  The words mom fail just seem to hang over me.  I smile and console her and then send her back up to get her reward all the while wondering what others think about me.  Imagining them whispering, "look at that mom that wants her child to dance so bad and she's miserable."  I'm thinking she is just tired from not taking a good nap.  And then I begin to wonder if she is just shy.

What about if the crowded room made her so nervous she just crumbled?  Honestly there were times in college when I had a presentation that I could not sleep the night before because I was too nervous I'd embarrass myself in front of my classmates.  I think deep down that is why I want Carsyn to try new things, especially performing.  That may be selfish.  But as a parent I feel I owe that to her.

I was in a funk for awhile after practice just wondering what I should do as a parent.  It dawned on me before dinner that I had forgotten to take her picture for the program.  I asked her if she wanted to go out to the front porch and take a picture.  She could splash some puddles and show me some ballerina moves.  She was so excited.  We had a little chat and I asked her if she enjoyed being a ballerina and she said "Mommy I love it."

So maybe that's not a perfect passé..

I'm just going to embrace it.


  1. Don't worry, mama! She will get there! Whatever she does on recital day, it will be absolutely adorable. I'm pretty sure I spent most of the dance rehanging the construction paper stars that had fallen of the stage props at my first recital, and I stuck with it for 10 more years. :)

  2. If she's having fun, it's all good! :) I'm hoping to get Kendall in a class in June and I honestly wish the recital aspect wasn't a part of the program. I love ballet because it is physical activity and promotes good posture. And it's fun! But I hate the recital and competition stuff. Let little girls dance and have fun!