Lydia (5) danced in two recitals this weekend. She’s the youngest in her class, which always makes me a little nervous for her. When we go to the observation days of dance class, she’s always a step behind. Sometimes her arms are doing the right thing while her feet remain motionless — or vice versa.
It’s darling. She’s so young, and she’s just having a good time. But sometimes I worry. Should we hold her back one year so she can be with kids her age and have another year to solidify what she’s learning? Or should we keep her where she is, and hope she’ll rise to the challenge of slightly harder dance moves?
Ultimately, we decided to keep her where she is, but as things go in mother-land, I’ve second-guessed our decision several times (I guess that means I’ve third-guessed and fourth-guessed and so on…).
And then the recital came. None of the kids in her group (including my own) seemed to have it exactly right, which made it all the more cute. But there was my little girl in the middle of it all — getting her arms and feet coordinating together, remembering to wave with the correct hand, gaining control of her shuffle steps. She bumped into another student here, she missed something there, she watched her neighbor for guidance sometimes. But she was doing it and she was getting it mostly right.
I remember thinking to myself, “When did she learn to put her heel out while her arm swings back?” It’s hard to get all your limbs doing the right thing, but she managed to do it.
Along with another mother, I was responsible for getting the dancers to the stage on time during the second performance. I felt like we were in a Degas painting as I watched the pint-sized girls line up in the wings, touching each other’s shoulders and standing on tip-toes to get a better look at what was happening on-stage. It was really one of the cutest things, and I wish I had my camera with me.
And then their turn came up and they hurry-scurried out on to the stage with so much confidence and excitement. Lydia told me she fell during this performance. I didn’t see it happen from my position backstage. I was heartbroken for her until I asked her what she did. “I just got back up and kept dancing,” she explained matter-of-factly. When did she get big enough to handle a situation like that without falling apart?
During the first performance, I sat next to a friend from church. She was there to see three of her granddaughters and one niece perform. She had already been to other recitals that day to see other granddaughters and nieces perform. At first I thought how frustrating it must be to lose an entire Saturday to simply observing others’ talents.
Then my daughter came on stage and showed her confidence. I felt so much joy as I watched her succeed. I could only imagine the amount of joy my friend and her husband felt as they watched grandchild after grandchild show their own skill and confidence.
It isn’t losing an entire Saturday. Whatever we gave up to spend that Saturday in the pursuit of our children’s pursuits isn’t important. These moments are the reason why we are here.