“8:00 am on a Saturday?!?” I asked incredulously.
As my friend reassured me that she really enjoyed getting her daughter out the door for soccer, I just assumed that either she was lying to me or she was slightly insane. Either way, I was convinced that no parent actually liked shuttling their kids to weekend events.
Fast forward ten years, and now I have a four-year-old who LOVES ballet.
“MOM – it’s time to wake up!” Aubrey gleefully announced at 7:00 am this morning. “Today is ballet day!”
As I rolled out of bed and got ready for the day, she happily chatted about all the different dances they would do as she twirled around the bathroom, oblivious to my yawning. “Mom, did you want to be a ballerina when you grew up?”
Before even waiting for my reply, she answered for me, “Wait. You didn’t become a ballerina! You’re a mom. Guess I will have to be a ballerina!”.
While we continued our morning routine downstairs in the kitchen, Aubrey’s twirls and spins became more elaborate without the space constraints of the bathroom. She stopped only long enough for me to brush her hair and get it up into a bun.
“Mom?” she asked, suddenly very serious. “Am I the most beautiful ballerina in the world?”
I grabbed her into a tight hug, and I replied, “Absolutely.”
But the tender moment quickly dissipated two seconds later as she broke free from the hug to tell her dad and brothers that they had to stay home because ONLY she and mom were going to ballet together.
She grabbed her bag, tossed on her sunglasses, and as she climbed into the car, she yelled, “Tell Siri to play Tiny Dancer!” Every neighbor and car we pass on Saturday mornings knows, without a doubt, that the girls in the white Jeep know every single word. Since we live so close to the studio, there is only time for one round and before I know it, she is scrambling back out of the car and waving goodbye as she runs off with her friends for lessons.
So, I am sitting here, writing this article as I drink my coffee and watching her twirl around the studio and not just the imagined stage of our bathroom or kitchen. I see a truly happy child.
She listens to her teacher, learns new skills, and enthusiastically practices with her little friends. I can feel the tears well up in my eyes as my heart tightens.
I hope that I’m not the only mom who is sitting there and thinking, She really is the most beautiful ballerina in the world.
When class is over, she comes scampering out and asks, “How many days until my next class?” I laugh and reply, “It is SEVEN whole days away! But it will be here before you know it.”
All of us parents will be there week after week, gladly waking up early on Saturdays to enjoy another day at ballet. Maybe my friend was not lying or even insane all those years ago when she said she enjoyed those early Saturdays. Because I get it now.
It’s not about the early mornings or the driving around or the endless practices and games on a weekend.
It is about that joy on my child’s face. It’s about the pride and accomplishment she feels while learning ballet. It is