I have a choice with this post. I can just upload the photos, or use dance as a metaphor for some aspect of life, or I can say what I’m really thinking during Recital Week.
So, here’s what I’m thinking: I don’t know if it’s such a big deal everywhere else, but where I live it’s the equivalent of a debutant’s ball or quinceanera. Weeks worth of rehearsals that keep school girls up way past bedtime, parents paying costume and recital fees, and mom’s struggling with alterations and sequin applications, even if it’s a “non-costume year.” Then, on recital night, relatives are charged to get in to see the performance. I hear women carrying on conversations about it everywhere I go, sometimes accompanied with an eye roll, but they wouldn’t dream of not participating. Neither would I.
We go to a more laid back studio that only does recitals every other year with rehearsal and performance all packed into one day for free admission, but that is uncommon. Even so, my daughter leaned close to me in the dressing room, during the show, to whisper, “See, aren’t you glad you have a daughter like me?” with a smile. It seems she’d been overhearing another girl from the studio go all diva on her mother. I was grateful for a sweet tempered girl. But I couldn’t help thinking that even my generous, sweet tempered girl, who was both nervous and excited, probably accepts this as routine. Though she is not selfish, she probably didn’t feel grateful. I mean, I didn’t feel grateful. Tired- yes, grateful- no.
I had just as much reason to be. I grew up with few such experiences and am getting to provide fun lessons and things for my children that I would’ve liked to have (except dance, I would rather have died as a girl than wear a tutu.) But the point is, I’m able to give this to my children and that is something to be grateful for. The fact that her studio is not as expensive or invested in weeks of rehearsal is also something to be grateful for. I’m just too rushed with all the hub-bub to feel it. Have we all just gotten to a point where this is the new norm and we’re just playing the roles we’re supposed to. Businesses, schools, or events require more, parents rush around, dutifully giving, and children casually take?
To some extent I think I have. I’m an eye roller at times, but I still stand in the same admission line. I do try to remind my kids that “Daddy and I didn’t get to do this when we were little.” I then go into a short soliloquy they could probably recite on their own about how it was for our parents and grandparents and that we never know how long the fat years will last before lean ones may be coming. Their eyes are glazed over, but I think they hear me. I hope they do.
I can say this, however, once the lights go down and the little girls tumbling and dancing starts, everyone (even the most harried of moms) has a smile on their face. The grandparents look so satisfied, even grateful, as they watch their little ones perform. I do love the idea of giving out of love. And this kind of gift is one both giver and receiver can be thankful for. So I am.