Fitting In…

Fitting In…

photo (6)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 ┬átired-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.

That Time I Had a Burning Candle on My Head

That Time I Had a Burning Candle on My Head

imageSaturday evening, I got back in town from four crazy days. It rained. Our bus got stuck on a hairpin turn that we weren’t supposed to take. We ate questionable chicken. It rained. We danced like fools. We ate questionable burgers. We laughed… a lot. It rained. We got a wee tiny bit of sleep. Which means we drank copious amounts of caffeine. We ate questionable sausage. We learned. It rained. We danced like crazy people. We recorded a “Pickle Rap.” We painted our faces green. It rained. We ate Clif Bars (because the questionable meat was doing a number on our tummies.) And we danced until every muscle in our legs ached.

At our second session, one of the girls moseyed on over to me while we were dancing like crazy people. I could tell she wanted to join in but wasn’t sure what to do. I told her that when I was her age I was so afraid to dance. Afraid I would mess up, people would laugh and I’d be really embarrassed. But far too late in life, I learned that the key to dancing is to just have fun. Don’t worry what others think about you. Throw yourself out there and have fun with it. When you spin to the left and everyone else goes to the right, laugh. When you throw your hands up and everyone else is touching the ground, laugh.

Last Monday, Lydia told me she wanted to dance and specifically that she wanted to hear Journey (yes, I’m more than a little proud that my three-year-old requests Journey.) Dancing does something inside you. It brings out the kid in all of us. The kid who believes she’s invincible, creative and capable of anything. The kid who believes in pixie dust and miracles and sees the good in people.

And in the middle of all that dancing, those darling kids chose me to go up on stage for a little leader/kid game. And so I had a burning candle on top of my head while a kid who knows a lot about dancing squirted a Nerf gun at me to blow it out. We won in about 1.8 seconds. Oh, yes, we did.

Dance today. Maybe skip the burning candle on top of the head. But dance like a fool.