Thursday, May 27, 2010

I hope you dance

If you've read any earlier posts on this blog, you've for sure heard me talk about the wonderful ways of my devoted husband, and his neverending reserve of patience as the devout dad that he is.  There is nothing the man wouldn't do for our little wonder. We've all seen the cheese commercial where the dad is forced to sit at his daughter's play table while she assures him that his princess crown wearing days are over when she says they're over...and that's pretty much Joe and Lizzy.

We enrolled Lizzy in dance class last fall.  Just shy of her 3rd birthday and the youngest in her class of 3-5 year olds, we thought it was something she could have fun with due to having what seemed to be a natural rhythmic ability, for her hips didn't just sway, but actually more 'boogied' much like the dancing baby in the viral video! We have endless footage on video of Lizzy in front of the stereo or television with music playing, grooving to the music to the point where she would make herself dizzy.  What that basically translated to for us if you were to see her in perfect rhythm, was her possessing more natural dancing ability than Joe and I put together.

And so, off we would go, the 3 of us to Saturday morning dance classes for a half hour of ballet, followed by a half hour of jazz...but they didn't all go quite as planned.  This was Lizzy and I in roughly the first 2 or 3 dance classes where we listened intently and well, preferred to quietly observe. 
Some mornings it would take the both of us to help her break thru her shyness and simply be comfortable being part of a group scenario...other mornings it would be only me she wanted in the studio with her, but for the most part, it was only Joe.  We then found that as long as the two of us were there at the onset of the class, it created more confusion and a distraction from an already limited focus, but yet asked if she wanted to go to her 'dance party this morning', she would jump up and down with excitement!  And so we did as any loving parents would do...we both put any slighted feelings aside while carrying on in assuring her a sense of security at all times.  I would sit in the observation room where I sat filming yet even more video footage chronicling this minute moment in her life, while she could still see me to wave to on occasion or run back into for a hug, while Joe willingly entered the dance studio with her as the seemingly only parent of her peers required to be there.

Joe is 6'4" one could imagine, he did stand out ever so slightly among the 3-5 year old sea of pink tutus. Nonetheless, if they had to spin, he would spin while gently persuading Lizzy to do the same...if they had to point toes, he would point toes. Lizzy, being at Joe's side with him holding her hand, was assured, and as long as that worked for her, it worked for him.  Just as precious, was the moment a 4 yr old standing on the other side of him, eagerly reached for his free hand making it official...he was now a much accepted member of the troop.  Ballet to Itsy Bitsy Spider or jazz to the Black Eyed Peas, he executed the moves to the best of his ability all too aware of Eliza's sole focus on him, and leading her thru it all, babystep by babystep.  Every Saturday morning became a case of hit and miss where never the same approach worked twice.  It would be interesting to say the least, to see how the rest of the season would biggest question being, would my husband find himself in the year's end dance recital?  I however, could only be grateful for Eliza's sake, and for all, that it was Joe's dance skills called upon to hold her attention and not mine.

So imagine the elation when one fateful Saturday morning, she took the leap turning to Joe, and said quietly "it's okay Papa, you can go now", entering the dance studio doors herself to join her classmates...and stayed. 
She soon grew to be quite comfortable with being in the studio with her new little friends, and began to go through the motions of her own accord.  Stacy (the dance studio director) and her assistants, traded off one on one attention to her along to a few others, and we watched our shy little peanut grow increasingly more comfortable in her now familiar surroundings and routines. 

This past weekend, a long weekend, saw Lizzy perform in her first ever dance recital open to the public.  Allowed only to escort her to the side stage door in the line assembly of her corps with my heart threatening to jump out of my chest while I struggled to swallow over the lump in my throat, I kissed my little marvel with a wish for loads of fun, while warning her to be quiet as she entered the backstage area as others would be performing.  The stage doors open, and without so much as a glance backwards, off she trotted with her peers in her little blue tutu and hair pulled back into a successful heart stopped. The stage doors close....I thought I would die.
Off I run to the main entrance of the theatre and present my ticket as any paying audience member.  I discretely assume my standing position at the back of the theatre while the lights are low following the first dance number.  The 'baby ballerinas" are introduced.  My stomach flips while my heart races...'Will she need to go to the washroom?  Will she cry when she realizes she's without me or Joe?  Will she spot him in the audience 3 rows back? Will she be insulted by the laughter in the audience totally entertained at the adorable 1st year students' number?  Is she already being consoled backstage by one of the assistants in fear of the performance?
The curtain opens...and there standing 2nd from the left, our beautiful little ballerina, who just months ago dispensed of her last diaper, relinquished her beloved soother, grew a distance of independence from Mr. Froggy, and who needed Mommy and Papa close at her side doing whatever was required of us, while she grew wings.
Alison Krauss sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and my little star does just that...and of course, not without waving to Papa spotted in the 3rd row.


Angie said...

Oh my goodness, this is just the sweetest story ever. As a Mother, I felt all your pain and joy all at once. It's an amazing journey isn't it?!

Cindy said...

Oh Leslie you should Publish this....if not for anyone else at least for your Eliza...Beautiful!

Lori said...

What a wonderful post and a beautiful little ballerina!

The Passionate Home said...

What a WONDERFUL story! I have been there myself, except my Lolo was a ladybug! Today she is 13! Enjoy every moment, as I see you do. Thanks for the smile! C

Colleen said...

...Ah ...lovey story!...Our 3 year old was Repunzel (spelling?) and even tho I had to sit on the sidelines in every class for a year she never went on stage for the the green room fully dressed and everyone ready to go, she turned and said "ok Daddy lets go sit down" ( I was saving seats)..and there she sat pointy hat and all, in the audience with her friends and family & watched everyone dance!
....that was 16 years ago and now she works manages her own horse is going to university, has been to Chile, Argentina and is headed to Australia and New Zealand for 11 weeks.....
... she still wants to be with us know what we are up to ....and likes us to be home at night ...if she is!
Thank You for a trip down memory lane....I remember it as if it was yesterday!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely and beautiful blog you have. I hope you never stop blogging, as you are such a beautiful person.
Your Lizzy is so beautiful too like her Momma, her eyes are like movie stars *smiles*

Kim said...

What a wonderful story....hope you make that into a little book....what a special memory for Lizzy and for you two as well:)

Anonymous said...

This has to be one of the most beautiful tear jerking well composed stories I have ever read about a little girl's journey to dance. I cried even more reading it the second time. What a beautiful family..... I truly hope you continue to share your journeys with us. xox Linda Letarte