Yes, I am a dance mom to the most lovely girl over there to your left. As I write, I'm sitting patiently in a squishy hotel lobby chair (the very swanky Indianapolis Hyatt, which boasts a spinning restaurant on the roof) whiling away the hours upon hours I wait for the 15 minutes or so (over 4 performances) my precious daughter takes the stage with her dance troupe. It's worth it to see the absolute joy on her face as she contorts her flexible body in ways that would send me straight to the hospital for a Demerol drip.
I am unlike the other dance moms. Once again, I find myself an outside observer. I assure you that most dance moms are not like the ones on the show, though there are one or two who make my skin crawl. But I don't feel like I belong here somehow. Some of these moms MAKE THEIR DAUGHTER'S COSTUMES. They have rhinestone Bedazzling parties during hours when I am at work. They showed up at 7am looking ready to go to a cocktail party; I looked exhausted and haggard, and slunk back to the room to go back to bed as soon as the daughter was all set with her number and off to classes in preparation for the afternoon extravaganza. Right now, the other moms are flitting around, probably making custom goodie bags for the girls, and I am sitting here feeling inferior and trying to look VERY BUSY on my computer before someone hands me a hot glue gun and tells me to make hairpieces. I am missing the craft gene, and would end up burning holes in my typing fingers if I went anywhere near a hot glue gun.
But this is about my daughter (WARNING: BRAGGING TO ENSUE). My amazing, smart, talented daughter who I look at and cannot believe she is mine. This girl somehow maintains a 4.3 GPA, takes all AP and honors courses in high school, and dances 15 hours a week or more to hone her life's passion. She also taught herself to play the ukulele in one day, and has mapped out the rest of her high school career so she can gain entrance into MIT's quantum physics program. She makes my head spin. But it's her dance that makes me verklempt. Her grace, beauty, strength, and passion inspire me to be a better mother and teacher and person. She also made me a dance mom, and provides me with the chance to be part of the dance community, even though I am a terrible dancer with clodhopper feet and a hobbit body. Her enthusiasm as she cheers on her friends is contagious. She's genuinely happy when they win. Seeing her confidence as she dons a costume and puts on more makeup than a pirate hooker is just so cool (and the makeup looks surprisingly natural from the audience). Dance is the best thing in her life, and I never want to stop being a dance mom.
Since I am just so awed by my baby girl, I'm going to treat you to some very artsy pictures of her, taken by an equally talented photographer who is just 15 years old. And then I have to scurry, because I see a Bedazzler in my peripheral visions and fear I'll be asked to touch it...
Courtney is a most fabulous writer and teacher of gifted middle school students. She is the author of two novels - see the "Cate Books" page of this site for information! Watch for updates about future books that need to be part of your personal library. In the meanwhile, enjoy her pithy life observations.