This morning was her first day of ballet. For months, she has been asking when she starts ballet, practicing her moves and dancing for anyone who will pay attention. But when the day finally arrived, the morning wound up in a tired-from-a-long-weekend-of-traveling-running-late-and-momma-wouldn’t-let-her-get-her-pink-kitty-cat-cue-the-tears-and-dramatic-sobs-in-the-backseat kind of a scene. We literally ran into the building (this would be a good time to mention I absolutely hate being late) with her eyes still red. She walked over to the group with her head down, and while all the other girls lifted their arms and smiled and danced around like little pink puffs of cotton candy, my girl, in her chosen black leotard and black slippers, looked down at the ground.
I reluctantly left the room to join the other waiting moms in the parents’ room. While I sat there, I could feel insecurity wrap its cold, bony fingers around me. The other moms in their cute and trendy “just threw it on” athletic wear were discussing the woes of being room mom and which school was the best. None of them had been late. None of their girls had red-rimmed eyelids. Why couldn’t I just have my act together?
A few minutes later, Charlotte and I got up to take a peek through the one-way mirrored door, and I saw Lydi dancing her little heart out. I smiled, grateful she seemed to be in a much better mood. Then I realized, she was dancing all right but in the opposite direction and not at all in the timing of the rest of the group. I squeezed Lottie and laughed, whispering to her, “We dance to a different beat, don’t we, girl?”
Part of me desperately wants to fit in, to be be accepted, to be liked. But another part of me, the part I’ve buried for a long time, is bubbling up. This part of my heart is trying really hard to remember it’s okay if everyone doesn’t like everything I do. And real life isn’t a Norman Rockwell painting. It’s a lot messier but a lot more beautiful. This part of my heart needs a lot of pep talks and a lot of courage. This part of my heart dares to dance like my little ballerina, wild and free and a bit off-beat.