I am a dance mom – me – the girl who preferred elbowing her way down a basketball court over pompoms.
And, I have a secret – I’m not your stereotypical dance mom. I don’t know the first thing about how scoring works, I still shutter at some of the costumes dancers wear on stage, and at times can’t for the life of me understand what the judges saw in a dance that got top scores. I am sure it goes beyond liking the music and more technical aspects of dance that I will likely never grasp.
Somehow my daughter was born with grace and rhythm. She transforms when she hits the stage – I watch her face light up and I know she has found her passion. We often joke that she got her dance genes from her Auntie Claire (aka my brother’s wife).
It’s competition time. This brings about a new level of anxiety and excitement. We spent the last weekend going through all the costume changes and making a list of all the items needed for each dance. We have the costume, the shoes, the accessories, the tights and hopefully the right hair pieces needed. Check the makeup kit, put earrings in to make sure they fit, and make a list of what’s missing. The week before a competition, I begin making notes – pack snacks, hit the cash machine (I never have enough cash with me), throw an extra phone charger in my purse, check to see how many pens are currently in my purse, send texts to family and friends of dance times. Finally, in our fourth year of competition, I think we have a better hold of what we really need to prepare for.
The search begins for the sewing kit that I had last year, which of course is no where to be found this year. I need to channel my 8th grade home economics class for my basic sewing skills to add elastic to hats, pin up straps that are too long, and when all else fails call Grammy to do more elaborate alterations. (By the way, I found all the needles from last year in the basket in my bathroom – now that’s a great place to store them.)
I’ve grown into a better dance mom. I can recognize the anxiety in myself and in Lydia and we can talk about it. I am sure that it helps that she is older, more confident, and more mature. She has taken on the responsibility for making the check lists, she wants to be able to spend time at the competition with her friends and watching other teams compete. I love listening to them critique the dances and again realize how much more knowledge they have about this sport than I do.
Yet it never fails, the day of the first competition Lydia and I are both nervous. It’s silly – yes I know it’s silly – that at 41 I still get anxious about what will the other moms think of me. What should I wear, who will I sit with, will I be able to do Lydia’s makeup and hair correctly?
Then she hits the stage and I become mesmerized. I can never get enough of watching her and her team dance and seeing their growth from year-to-year and from competition-to-competition. On stage, her personality shines through; she’s strong, sassy, and confident.
I have never been prouder to embrace my dance mom title, because it means I get to watch my daughter doing what she loves.