When I was growing up I loved watching ballerinas dance around in their tutus and tights. They looked so elegant, so graceful.
Like many little girls, my daughter also fell in love with watching ballerinas. She’s been asking me if she could take classes for about a year. Finally, we caved, and signed her up for lessons. She had her first class last week and throughly enjoyed it.
I had plans to buy her dance ware at a kids consignment store but the last-minute sign-up didn’t give me enough time to run down there. I coughed up $22 for tap shoes, and luckily found tights and leotards at Walmart. I also got ballet slippers there but after checking out the other girls shoes, I realized Lil’ J’s are more bed-slipper-like than dance-slipper-like.
During class all the other moms waited in the hallway and watched from the windows. I sat inside the room and took photographs. Apparently you get a “first class pass” to staying in the room and watching your child perform. I took full advantage and busted out my DSLR.
The other half of the class I stood in the hallway and watched with other moms. A couple told me about their favorite teachers, some mentioned the variety of classes their daughters are enrolled in, one bragged about her older daughter’s special talents. For a brief moment I felt like I had stepped into an episode of Dance Moms.
I was an extremely competitive child growing up. I still have waves of a competitive spirit now and then,and occasionally I can feel a tug of it regarding my kids’ skills. I try to stop myself before it can boil over, but sometimes I worry the older my children get, the worse I’ll get.
As I watched my daughter practice in class I felt a shift in my attitude. Instead of watching how she did in comparison to other dancers, I watched the smile on her face grow brighter. The joy in her expressions, the bounce in her jump, and her studious look while her dance teacher taught her a new move.
I have a feeling this is just the first in a series of lessons I’m going to learn about parenting among other parents. I think so long as I continue to feel repulsed every time I watch Dance Moms I’m probably doing ok. The day those ladies start to seem sensible to me is the day I’ve started down a dark road.