It’s been an interesting couple of days in the not so frosty North.
I wanted to write a letter to Neil about our fifth wedding anniversary, about how one day we got married and the next day Isla was nearly four and having her first dance recital.
That’s exactly what happened.
I was heavily pregnant for our first wedding anniversary. We went to the zoo, I forgot my three gallons of ice-tea, and I actually ended up in the hospital with actual dehydration, and an extended panic attack that’s lasted about 4 years. Hi.
Back then the nurses couldn’t figure out if Neil and I were married. My fingers were so swollen I wore my rings around my neck.
They sprung me after a few days, and a week after that I was drugged up to the eyeballs and telling the anaesthesiologist that I loved her very much and she looked very glamorous for a doctor.
And when Isla was born the first thing I noticed was her violet eyes (ok, really really dark blue, shut up) and the fact that she had miniature versions of Neil’s
ugly long feet.
Nearly four years later, those are still dancing feet.
She started tap class a couple months ago. Because she wanted to, and because I wanted her to have someplace to channel her
never-ending abundant energy.
Isla comes home from class and proclaims she want to dance forever.
A wheelie made a dancer.
A dancer whose first public dance was the day after her very married parents wedding anniversary.
That does not make me a dance mom. Or does it?
Growing up, I pretended to tap dance on my grandparents linoleum kitchen floor. For five minutes, with my walker. Then I grabbed my microphone and pretended to be Dolly Parton. Such was the Saturday night entertainment cycle.
My point, and I do have one. I never wanted to be a dancer. I am not grooming Isla into a dancer to live out my disabled dancer dreams.
When dance classes came up, she wanted to try them. We asked if she wanted ballet or tap, and she said ‘the one with the noise.’
I sat in her first class and I cried. Because that’s my kid. Under her own power. Not a baby anymore, but always my baby.
And maybe for five minutes, I cried because I was jealous. Of my own beautiful, confident, self-possessed, dancing child.
Maybe because she can dance and move in ways that I cannot, and she may decide that dancing is her thing. Maybe because of that.
But mostly because we all want our children to do better than us, have more than we did, just do it.
Isla just does it. Dancing or anything. I want to be more like my kid.
I cried because she was in sequins and makeup and she looked four going on 24, and she loved it. I cried because someone else put her hair up, and there was hairspray involved.
I cried because she doubled back to kiss me before we left her backstage.
She’s growing up, but she’s still mine.
Onstage in the second row, in glittery tap shoes. Looking at me in the audience.
And I’m dancing in my seat.
Also published on Medium.