Tiny Dancer

Again, it seems the fog has lifted. There is a cyclical pattern to parenting like there is with summer weather. Two weeks of gorgeous sunshine. Two weeks of hot, humid mess. Sure, the baby coughed so much that she puked on me in a restaurant tonight and then pooped through her diaper and onto my shirt at Barnes and Noble, but it was a great day!
The girls seem to be on their way to better health and that’s all I can ask for. Their wonderful pediatrician, our friend, told me the baby’s lungs sounded great and her ears looked good. Hooray! The big sister was beyond excited to go to the doctor’s office knowing that the baby was being poked and prodded, not her. “it’s okay, it’s okay, you’re okay”, she chimed as the little one sat on the deli paper unsure whether she would use the stethoscope like a teething toy or chuck it across the room. As a reward for being an awesome big sister and as a special treat for her last day of school, we went and got her her first pair of ballet slippers. It was also my reward for the past week of sick kids, no sleep, and administering meds to a 2 year old.
The moment these tiny pink shoes slipped onto her feet like Cinderella’s glass slipper… amazing! You could see the sparkle in her eyes as she beamed into the mirror doing arabesques and attitudes. She was thrilled to be a ballerina. I was overjoyed, but I will try to keep myself in check. I promise to never be a “stage mom” and only show her support and help her when she asks for it. My years of passionate training and discipline studying ballet, tap, jazz, modern will not be compared to what she wants to do. I will encourage, but not pressure.
It was a hip injury that drew the curtain on what I had hoped would be my career. At 15, I saw the lights dim during my final performance. The Sugar Plum Fairy was my last role, my ultimate goal. It was recommended that if I wanted to continue dancing, doctors would need to perform “exploratory” surgery on my hip. And if I chose to forgo surgery, but continue to dance, then I should resign to the fact that I may not walk in the future. So dramatic (at least that’s how I remember it, for aren’t all 15 year olds dramatic?). No, this surgery wasn’t going to be giving me a new lease on an already unrealistic career aspiration. It wouldn’t be as hopeful as my double mastectomy will be, providing hope to beat the odds already against me. It would have been possibly more damaging to me than anything ever could. It could have interfered with my fertility and my parents were wise enough to protect me from that. Having my little girls now, and being so grateful for them in my life, is far more than being a ballerina could have ever been for me. I mean, if we’re being honest, I like to eat way too much to think I could really have made it to the stage of my dreams (although I tell my picky eater that ballerinas eat a lot so they can get strong and dance their best… I’m lying).
Being a parent means making tough decisions for your kids sometimes. I’m just happy I will be around to watch my girls perform whatever they wish to. Even if it’s just the private performance I got today when we got home from the ballet store. Slippers, tutus, and Tchiakovsky’s overtures. I am, once again, in Ballet Heaven!

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