When my oldest daughter first started taking ballet classes, at the age of two and a half, I was overwhelmed by the recital “packet”. The rehearsals, pictures, costumes, makeup. The rules. No earrings, nail polish, or underwear. What about diapers?!? It all felt like too much, as I had never been a dancer myself.
Somehow we made it through our first recital season and I remember being stunned that my tiny dancer got out on that big stage, in front of a packed auditorium, and danced. Now, she didn’t nail all of the steps and she may have even yawned mid number, but I’ve come to learn that those smallest dancers can do no wrong!
Late last week, we were rushing to dress rehearsal after school. I had miraculously executed two buns and a bit of makeup on my two dancers…Adi was making her big dancing debut this year. As we waited for a red light to give us the go ahead, I glanced in my rearview mirror to see both of my girls’ excited faces-those ruby red lips smiling in anticipation. “I’m so proud of both of you,” I said smiling back at them. “I never danced on a big stage. You’re so brave. I don’t think I could have done that when I was a little girl.”
“I think you could, Mom,” Wren stated matter-of-factly. “You can dance. I know you can.”I chuckled to myself as we raced for the stage.
After the rehearsal, as we walked towards the car, I again told the girls how proud I was of them. “I really noticed your smile during your last dance, tap,” I said to Wren. “It really made you shine up there.” She smiled and went on talking about her time backstage and some drawings she had been doing with friends.
Fast forward to show day, we arrived early to get the girls all dressed and set up back stage. Before leaving to find my seat in the audience, I gave them each a big hug. As I released Wren, she said, “I’m going to smile for all of my dances today.” I hugged her again, noticing how she had tucked away my comment from rehearsal.
“You just do you best and have fun,” I said giving her one last squeeze.
When the lights turned on during Wren’s first dance, it was clear that she had turned her smile on bright. She radiated joy and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She wore that same smile for all three of her numbers that day, proving that she could make anything happen. How far she had come from that girl yawning on stage.
As for Adi, she and her friends provided the comedic relief for the show, gaining a few chuckles and big applause for their mixups and overwhelming adorableness.
I beamed from my seat, watching my heart shine on stage.