It’s 8 pm on a Sunday night. The Oscars are on tv and my wife, my two daughters and I laying on the couch being lazy. Blankets everywhere, people fighting for that extra inch of space. When it becomes evident there is an odor in the room. My youngest finds it first and tells the oldest “your feet STINK” and we all get a good laugh. My oldest first tries to deny it was her feet but it’s obvious it was hers. She defends herself by saying that they should be smelly because she danced in pointe shoes all day at her ballet shows.
This weekend was another one of the good ones. Where the kids just have TOO much happening. A cheerleading completion in another state for my youngest and a ballet show on Sunday for my oldest. When there is a ballet show the entire weekend is filled with rehearsals so the wife and I have to divide and conquer. Saturday was two cars driving to Providence so that the wife could leave directly after my youngest performed so she could get to dance rehearsal with the oldest. So, I got to stay with the youngest, shop at the mall and go out to dinner. I’ve mentioned this a few times, but I enjoy very much when the kids are separated and you get some alone time with just them. It’s a great reminder of why you love them. I get to talk about completely different things with my 13 year old than my 15 year old. They are in different parts of their development, so it’s cool to check in on them and learn about their lives again. I know I already know a lot about them, but I never get tired of whatever it is they want to talk to me about.
Sunday was all about my 15 year old. She was in two ballet shows with her dance studio. Again, my wife is the real true expert here. She works for the studio, she knows all the kids, she knows when to ask the 15 year old if she needs help or she knows to stay away from her when the stress of the show manifest itself in my daughters actions. She’s very very in tune with my daughters moods and needs on show day. Probably because she’s done it a thousand times herself, or probably just because she’s a really great Mom. But, I love these shows with my 15 year old. She’s now one of the older kids at the studio, she’s a pro at these shows now. She has lots of friends in that studio. But, it is a ballet show that they all had to audition for. I always wonder about that, about how the girls treat each other when they think “maybe I should have gotten this part, I’m better than so and so”. They are a family, but I think auditioning add a little tension to that. But, they all do a fantastic job on that stage.
I absolutely love these shows. I know lots of the kids now because my daughter has been to this studio for over 10 years. I watched a bunch of the kids grow up on that stage so I really like watching them shine. Sometimes you forget that these shows are just kids. They are so professional. But, they also do a great job with the littlest kids in the studio for these shows. The older kids carry most of the show, and convey the story perfectly, but the younger kids get to be on the stage and perform. I think it does really great things for those kids. They get to be part of a show, and they get to hang with all the older kids. I can remember a time when my daughter was that young and how the older kids treated her. She was the star in their eyes, not them. And, all the older kids now do that same thing. The kids are so good to the younger ones. My daughter was telling me a story after the shows about how a girl she teaches at the studio was glued to her after the show. She grabbed the prop my daughter had just used on the stage and was just holding it talking to my daughter. I love hearing about those moments. I love that my daughter and her friends are looked up to, and after the show is all over that is what I hear about the most. I see a few pictures of the little ones looking at the older kids in awe of them, thinking about how cool it is and that one day maybe that will be them in the crazy costumes.
My daughter and her friends really do a great job on that stage. They put their hearts into it, and you can tell. They care, which is a really good gift for a parent to see. They put their all into these shows. My daughter is a beautiful dancer. She tells the whole story on stage, with her movements and her face. When she’s mad, her feet hit the floor a little harder, her movements let you know just how her character feels. Or, maybe it’s because I have seen her mad face at home that I can pick up on it a little easier!
She had a really big crowd this year come to watch her. Lots of aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents came to watch my girl. It really means a lot to me that they take time to do things like that. To them, it’s a thing they did, but to my daughter this is her world, so getting to share that with them is special. She works so hard, so getting to show off a little must feel great. And she is on pointe, which is almost impossible. The way the girls move that are on pointe is a miracle to me. My brain can’t figure out how you dance on your toes like that. But, they make it look easy.
The ballet shows were great and my daughter won at her cheerleading competition so the weekend was a big success for them. But, none of that was my favorite part of the weekend…
It was that Sunday night, just the four of us not wanting any of it to be over. Knowing that the couch time wasn’t going to be long and that very soon tomorrow would be here and the madness would start all over again. Watching the Oscars while the dog barked because his usually spot on the couch was taken. We talked about smelly feet and whatever else hit us that was funny about the weekend. Since we were in different places at different times we caught each other up on everything that happened in such a busy weekend. Then my oldest was going thru her phone looking at the pictures and a video came up. She said to me “watch this, it was all of us in-between the two ballet shows”. It was just a video my daughter and her dance friends laughing and singing some song I didn’t know. I started to laugh and smile and so the wife asked to see it, so I leaned over to see if the youngest wanted to see it to, but she was asleep on the couch. Her weekend was OVER, and I bet she fell asleep very happy with all of us together. So, I played the video and the wife and I watched as our oldest daughter was explaining what they were doing, how fun it was to just be silly for a few minutes. Whether you were Ariel, Flounder, Ursula or the Queen in their ballet The Little Mermaid it did not matter to them. They weren’t competitive at all, they were just kids having a great time with each other. Killing some time between shows, eating pizza, singing silly songs and laughing with each other. It was a great reminder to me that my daughter is in the right place. Great reminder that she is getting way way more out of her dance than just how to do the next move.
I talked with a Mom after the first ballet show on Sunday who has a daughter that did the show, and that is also on the dance team with my daughter and she said “What a crazy weekend, but what are we going to do when it is all over soon? They are almost driving themselves, so I’m enjoying this madness.” And she was exactly right. A weekend like that reminds you how short of a time is actually is with your kids. I know it feels like forever when they are 2 years old, but I blinked and they are teenagers. I’ll read this story many years from now and I’ll remember those stinky feet late on a Sunday night. I won’t remember what role she played, I won’t remember that my daughters cheer team won first place in her tournament. I’ll remember the four of us on a couch being okay being squished together not wanting to move, not wanting for the night to end. Missing something later in life is the payment you have to make in order to live those experiences. I get to hang with my three favorite people on this planet. If I miss it later in life I’ll know it was all worth it.