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My Daughter is Teaching Me To Dance Again

A few months ago, I signed my daughter up for dance class. We got there a little early and I wasn’t sure what to expect. My chest felt heavy and I had to keep reminding myself to breathe.

A few months ago, I signed my daughter up for dance classes. I went store to store to find her the perfect dance clothes. She needed white tights, a pink leotard and I had to order her the right pink leather dance shoes online. I drove myself crazy for weeks worrying about her dance clothes.

Saturday morning, we got up early. I carefully put her in the white tights. I took out the leotard and she said, “Mommy…princess!” I smiled.

I soon realized the leotard was a bit too big and got angry at myself for not trying it on her sooner. Now she would look sloppy and it was my fault. But I put her hair into a little ballerina bun anyway and we headed to the studio.

We got there a little early and I wasn’t sure what to expect. My chest felt heavy and I had to keep reminding myself to breathe. It became difficult to focus.

I just wanted to take a “first day of dance” photo of my daughter.

More parents came in and filled the small lobby of the dance studio. Most seemed like they knew what they were doing. I wanted to sink into the crowd. I always wonder what other people’s perception would be of me if they knew I had been a heroin addict. My brain tried to tell me that I was not good enough to be there.

My daughter slipped on the floor and smashed her head on the bench. She was screaming and all eyes were on us but I just held her and reassured her that she would be okay.

“You will be okay baby. Mommy is here.”

The class was starting and I carried her over to the door to go inside. I got near the door and a gentle voice suggested, “Why don’t you let her try to walk in and see if she will go.” As I placed my daughter on the floor, she ran right into the room and sat down on her mat. She never looked back.

My heart dropped and I thought “she doesn’t need me.” The thought scared me because if she doesn’t need me—then who does?

Some of the other parents just sat on the benches in the lobby. I wanted to get outside because I didn’t know what to do with myself. I soon realized that I was not alone. Across the hall there were large glass windows with a vinyl overlay, but the decoration had little swirls that you could peek through. I went over and peered in.

My daughter was dancing. She was spinning around and holding hands with her new friends.

She didn’t know that I was having an incredibly difficult week. She didn’t know that I had walked away from the career I thought was my “dream job.”

She didn’t know that I had spent the night before awake and crying… feeling like I was failing her.

My daughter just danced. She was brave and free. She did not have a care in the world.

It has been a few days now since her dance class. Today my daughter had a rough day after falling on the pavement. Her knees hurt and she has a huge bump on her forehead. She wanted to watch the movie Annie, so I turned it on. As we were watching, she looked at me and said, “Mommy, I want to dance.”

It has been so long since I danced.

So we danced. I let go of all the stress and for a moment it was just me and her. Nothing else existed. One of my biggest challenges as a mother is balancing between wanting my daughter to need me and wanting her to fly. Today I needed her and I chose to let go of the guilt. I needed to lean in on my two year old and I let that be okay. We spun around until we were dizzy and we laughed and she looked at me and said “Mommy dancing!”

Yes, baby. Mommy is dancing.

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1 Comment

  1. This was beautiful you are rocking it

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