Dance camp was the talk around the snack table for weeks before it came. They couldn’t wait to go. I had blurry-edged visions of sparkly tulle, princess crowns and smiling children taking bows. Having twin girls does that to a pink-loving mommy. As they have a habit of doing, dreams reluctantly gave way to practical reality, and the week didn’t quite go as I had so fantastically imagined.
Monday went okay. They went. They did the craft. They ate the snack. They didn’t cry.
The teacher told me there was a glitch on Tuesday, with an incident in the middle of class where one twin didn’t want to let go of her sisters’ hand.
By Wednesday morning, I got the I-don’t-want-to-wear-a-tutu speech from twin number one. When I asked her what she would like to do, she quietly made a motion with her hands, as if holding an imaginary baseball bat. So that left twin number two on her own, to navigate through the rest of the week, sister-less.
It didn’t phase her much. She came down the stairs every morning, tutu in hand. Aside from the multiple hugs and kisses she demanded before I dropped her off, she willingly walked into her class and remained there without tears. One thing she didn’t do all week? Dance. She simply stood there in class, interested but disengaged.
What started as slight irritation on my part quickly morphed into full-fledged, eye-rolling, impatient mommy monster. What’s the big deal? I thought to myself, Why won’t she just have fun and be a kid? Why so serious? We paid money for this! What a waste.
I wondered how the recital would go at the end of the week with parents watching. I fully expected her to find us in the audience and walk directly to us, refusing to remain in the spotlight.
I was prepared for that.
Instead, she simply did that which she had done all week: She stood there. I think in some way, she believed she was performing, showing us what she had been doing at dance camp. As I watched her stand there still in the midst of twirling girls in tutus, my mama mood shifted from one of frustration to overwhelming compassion for this small brunette, standing with purpose, focused intently on those dancing around her. She was determined to be there in the midst of the dancers but just as determined not to dance.
Watching her that day, I began to see her. Not as my daughter, but as a person. As a girl. And I could relate with her. I know what it is to long to be a part of something bigger than I am. But I also know what it’s like to miss out on the fullness of the dance because of fear, anxiety or expectations. Still, courage rose to the surface in her that day, allowing her to remain standing even in the midst of great anxiety.
And for different reasons than I thought I would be, I was proud.Leave a Comment
Mary @ Passionate Perseverance says
WOW! I feel like this sometimes. I stand and watch because I have no idea how to engage. It’s too overwhelming. Your daughter stood her ground. She had the courage to stay and see it through. That’ huge. Oh the lessons children teach us.
Candy @ SoBella Creations says
I also have two little girls. The oldest is in school now and she wants to join all the activities. She is a Daisy Scout which I believe she enjoys the uniform above all else that they do as a Daisy.
Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience says
True, this… Sometimes just standing, just being present, is an act of courage.
You teach your daughters… and us… well. *Thank you*…
am an “on the fringe, observing” kind of gal myself…see the same thing in my daughters and relate to each and every one of your words. HE has allowed the frustration and hope for them to engage to give way to appreciation of the BEAUTY of their CONTENTMENT in “standing” and watching.
I swear, Emily, I have rarely read something you’ve written without crying!!!! 🙂
The Nester says
That was so precious. She will make you tell that story over and over again one day.
Joanne Sher says
This is INCREDIBLY powerful. Such an incredible message, and amazing word-picture. Thank you for speaking to my heart today.
Angela Nazworth says
That was lovely Emily.
oh emily this is beautiful. thanks for sharing!!
Sarah Markley says
beautifully written, emily.
sometimes its hard to see our kids as “other” than us — their own persons.
i love how you’ve portrayed this. =)
melissa @ the inspired room says
aw, that just makes my heart well up.
Sarah Mae says
What a *lucky* little girl to have such a mama…
I’m a dance mom too, and this really touched me.
What a precious little girl, and what a lesson for me today (I can relate). Beautiful, just beautiful.
wow… for her. and for you. to continue with the class without that hand to hold… and to hover on the edge of the fun. this mama might not have been able to see past the anger, and there you are able to put it aside and find something so unique… a little girl and her own brand of courage. hurrah!
Precious daughter of the King (you and your baby girl!)
Hillary @ The Other Mama says
I am so proud of her, too! What a wonderful moment of courage! Great post, Emily!
Mozi Esmes Mommy says
I can so relate! My girl goes to Tumbling class every week, and watches. She occasionally will do an activity when her group is on to the next one, but hardly ever when she is “supposed” to. And I wonder why I pay for this. Yet she is learning and enjoying it…
Love this post!
What a special post. Thank you for sharing!
Wow! As a mommy of a 2 year old little toddler (going on 14) I can so appreciate this post! I too, sad to say it, have my Mommy-monster come out more than I would like.
I have contemplated having my daughter try some dance classes when she is 3 or 4…. I can totally picture her doing the same thing.
It is amazing when we look at our children…. and they are not the little babies we once held – they are daily being shaped into “little people”… “little people” who will one day be young ladies, and grown women just like us!
May they be women that continue to “stand” in the midst of fear and anxiety… if all they can do is simply,
That’ll preach, Traci 🙂 It is pretty unbelievable and strange to consider them other than us…their own little persons. I can’t imagine my mom felt this way about me. But I know that she did and probably still does.
Emily, you’re the best.
It’s a good thing to adjust the lens sometimes, isn’t it?
Motherhood blows me away.
You write it out so well.
Thank you for doing it in this beautiful post.
Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says
I know you are describing something that really happened, but I also feel like it’s a beautiful analogy for how I live my life sometimes. I’m there, I want to be included and involved, but I just can’t participate fully. So I stand there. And watch.
Hmmm. This makes me think.
Ohhhh…i love this:
“But I also know what it’s like to miss out on the fullness of the dance because of fear, anxiety or expectations.”
Girl, me too. That is such a good line.
I grew up dancing…my first day of classes my feet didnt even hit the floor. My teacher carried me around on her hip the whole time!