Back in the fall I wrote about my youngest daughter’s entrance into the world of dance. You can read it here. A soccer mom through and through, I was reluctant to add the “Dance Mom” hat to my collection of ever growing roles and I resisted as long as I could. My tiny dancer, however, made it clear. She wanted to dance.
Of course, she loves it.
Fast forward to spring and we are preparing for her dance recital. Money has been falling out of my wallet at an ever quickening pace as I pay off the rest of the year’s tuition and costume balances, order dance pictures, and buy tickets to the recital. I’ve also spent some time at CVS buying hair spray, hair pins, and something called “The Perfect Bun” hoping these tools may help me gather my daughter’s wispy thin hair into an acceptable bun for her performance.
The minute the dance studio sent the email filled with lengthy instructions about picture day, tech rehearsals, dress rehearsals, ticket buying instructions, and order forms for DVDs and program ads I started grumbling. THIS was exactly why I did not want to be a dance mom. In the thick of soccer season for all three of my kids I also had to somehow fit in all of this STUFF to prepare for her total of six minutes on stage. I felt like a petulant child sitting at my computer with my arms crossed over my chest, shaking my head, saying No, No, No. I won’t do this. This is ridiculous. These dance moms are crazy. I refuse to even play this game.
Of course, I’m doing it.
Two weeks ago was picture day. It was a Sunday morning and I allotted us exactly 15 minutes to get her hair and make-up done. This was not nearly enough time (I mean really what’s wrong with me) so after desperately trying to get her hair into a reasonable bun I said things like, “Well I’m probably not buying these pictures anyway” and “it’s good enough” and “She’s 5! How good of a bun could a 5-year-old possibly have?” as I hustled her into the car with her costumes and raced down to the studio. I walked into the studio and into a world I have never seen the likes of before. Little girls, tutus, and glitter were everywhere and the smell of hairspray was so strong I could barely breathe. Buns were high up on the heads and sprayed completely solid. Girls’ makeup was done to near pageant levels and girls’ faces literally shimmered. I looked down at my own daughter. The drive had made her hair already not acceptable. And I had forgotten to put on any makeup. Sigh.
I had a few minutes before her time slot so I rushed her into her tutu hoping to grab someone’s hair spray to touch her up. I figured I would use my own makeup to give her pale face a little color. I then reached down to take off her sneakers and realized, I HAD FORGOTTEN HER DANCE SHOES. I mean seriously, what kind of dance mom forgets the DANCE SHOES??? This one, right here. Luckily I live only a few minutes away (if I only hit green lights). I left her with another mom and I raced back home daring any police officer to even TRY to stop me. I made it back within seconds of her time slot so her messy bun was just going to have to do. I slapped some eye shadow on her and used my spit to brush away her wispy hair. My precious daughter gave herself one last look in the studio mirrors and said, “Mom, I’m a mess” and off we went to get into line. Here’s what we got. I’ve got to say I was pleasantly surprised.
Of course, I bought it.
Last week was ticket purchase day. Seasoned dance moms warned me of standing in line for hours only to get tickets in the very back row of the auditorium. They talked about the moms who bought out entire rows since every grandparent, aunt, uncle, and cousin came to see their little angels dance for three minutes and about the moms who set up camp sites outside of the studio hours before tickets went on sale. I shook my soccer mom head in disbelief. What?? Hours??? Rows of tickets?? At $18 a ticket!?!? No way. I refused. First off, I only needed a total of four tickets since it’s May and every member of my extended family is double booked that weekend with other recitals, First Communions, and sports commitments. Secondly, I work two jobs, have three kids, and, well, a life so I refused to spend hours waiting in line for these tickets. Apparently the owners were trying to change this practice and according to the given instructions, no one was to line up before thirty minutes prior to sale time. I decided I would be the mom who followed instructions. If the line was hours long I would just buy the tickets the next day and deal with it. I was pleasantly surprised to see most other moms played along and the only real drama to ticket purchase day was the price I paid to see my daughter dance after paying hundreds of dollars in tuition. I also scored pretty great tickets since I sort of may have gotten there a tad earlier than thirty minutes.
This last weekend was the tech rehearsal. Still a bit scarred from picture day I decided we were NOT getting her hair into a bun. This wasn’t the dress rehearsal, after all, and I just couldn’t handle the stress. Already feeling a bit over all of this dance nonsense (and we aren’t even at the dress rehearsal yet) I threw her hair into a messy ponytail and grabbed her normal dance gear that I hadn’t washed since last class since it was still in a ball in the corner of her room. I DID remember the shoes this time and we arrived at the tech rehearsal within a few minutes of her time slot. She found her class, I found a seat in the back of the auditorium, and I absently scrolled through my Facebook waiting for her turn up on stage. I heard her music start for the first number and I looked up. About ten seconds later I was scrambling to get my camera up while quickly moving closer to the stage. I snapped picture after picture of my smiling, laughing, tiny dancer and I remembered exactly why I was now a dance mom.
So next week is the dress rehearsal and then finally the recital. I have to say I’m now looking forward to all of it. I can’t wait to see my baby dancing, laughing, and smiling. I’m happy when my kids are happy and it’s clear that dance is making her happy. I’ll try to stop complaining about all of the dance related tasks and I’ll do my best to be a better dance mom (although I’m not sure I’ll ever perfect that perfect high bun or always remember the dance shoes). This reluctant dance mom is finally all in.