It’s the week before the dance recitals for my family this week. This is the week in which my wife turns into a Superhero. She works a Full Time job, and then helps organize a show with what feels like 10,000 kids in it. All week, she works and then is spending her other minutes/hours getting music ready, organizing costumes, dress rehearsals, driving back and forth to the venue to help make sure everything is perfect and ready. All of this crazy work just so your son or daughter can spend 3 minutes on a stage and get that feeling of being a star.
My wife does this all, and has two girls at home also in the recital who need makeup, hair, tights and all sorts of other girly stuff for them to be ready. I don’t know where she gets all this extra motivation, maybe I will have to start drinking her coffee and see if that helps me too!
My role for this week is to basically leave them alone, drive them where they need to be and just stay out of the way. It gets CRAZY in my house this week. The ladies in my house take over. The dog and I just know that all the incredibly mean things said this week are a product of the stress they feel. Sometimes when the kids are losing it on each other I will pick a fight with one of them or say something I shouldn’t just so they turn their anger on me. They find a common enemy in me and forget why they hated each other for a minute.
The kids work ALL year on their dances. It’s not like a baseball game where you get maybe four or five at bats, or even multiple games. This is a one shot deal. They work all year, practicing, learning, memorizing, all for a 3 minute performance. And these kids are AWESOME. For some it is their first time on the stage. The teachers (my wife is one of them) are as invested in the performance as the parents, grandparents, and friends are. You can feel it in the audience when the little ones first walk on the stage. The crowd loosens up and when that music starts everyone is glued to the stage. Some kids do the dance perfect, some just stand there, some do a totally different dance, but they all get to say they did it. The leave that stage with a big smile, knowing they accomplished their goal.
My kids are pro’s at this point. Both have been dancing and performing for years. But, they still get the butterflies like it is their first time going on the stage. That must be what is so magical about performing. I get to witness all the prep that goes into it throughout the year because my wife is a teacher there and because I have been thru so many recital weeks. Maybe that is why I still get the butterflies watching them. It’s probably why all my family members look to me when the dance is over to see if I cried again. I hope that is something I never ever lose. I get lost in their performances and I can picture them doing it for the first time.
The teachers treat each performance and each kid like they are staring in the Nutcracker during Christmas at the Wang Center, or whatever the theater is called nowadays. They make sure the kids are as ready as they can be and understand it is about having fun out there. The younger kids watch the older ones with this look in their eyes like “I can’t wait to be able to do that” and the older kids look at the younger ones with that same look and think “I remember that feeling”.
I used to HATE this week when it would come up. The house is a nightmare. People are screaming at each other, there is laundry everywhere, the take-out food boxes are piled on top of the trash. It is absolute anarchy. I think my family single handedly keeps the bobby pin companies still alive. I find them everywhere!
But then I think about how many more times do I get to experience this? In a few short years my house will be quiet ALL the time. I won’t have these crazy weeks and I will look back just as the graduating dancers in the shows do and think “I will miss this”. So, I don’t get mad anymore. I actually really enjoy watching the wife and kids transform into super humans for this one week a year.
I get joy in watching the wife and kids struggle through the week. It’s a struggle because they want it to be perfect. They stress about every detail. It is eye opening to me to get to see all the work they put into this. I know at the end of the week the show will be great, but I get to see thru them all the work that goes into every little detail. When they all turn on me because I said something stupid or it is my turn for them to be mad at I walk away with a little bit of a smile, knowing this is part of their process.
Each year the recital has a theme. This year the theme is about Superhero’s. Most of us think Superman, Wonder Woman, or Batman. But the theme is really fitting for the entire studio. From the Dancers to the Teachers, they all become someone’s hero on that stage. The older kids give the younger ones a reason to keep coming back, inspiring them to try different styles of dance. The younger ones inspire their younger siblings to have the courage to try this when they get older and they also remind the older kids of what dancing is all about. The joy in those little faces is contagious.
My wife and kids are my superheroes. Not in the “stop a speeding bullet” kind of way. More in the way they have helped change me into a “stop and smell the roses” kind of guy. They have a passion. They work on improving that passion and while doing it they are also help others discover their passion. They inspire me, they push me, they are my SUPERHEROES.
As I always say, I’m a lucky guy. So I don’t get to go in the backyard and teach my son how to kick a soccer ball or hit a baseball. I get something so much more fulfilling. I learned to love something they loved. I’m so invested in their lives and it has paid me back in ways I might never be able to actually measure. I get to watch my girls live out their dreams, one recital at a time.
Find your tribe, invest in them. The rewards are worth it.