Each June, there are several recurring events that I use to mark my time on this earth. The last day of school, the summer solstice, and recital season. Each is an indicator to me that the weather is getting nicer (sort of) and I can look forward to spending more time relaxing and doing the things I enjoy most--hiking, biking, and hanging out with my kid. This June is no different. School ended right on schedule, it is now light until nearly 11:00 p.m., and last weekend, Bellingham was overrun by princesses (princi?) in fluffy tutus and pink tights.
Dance recitals are something that only a parent can truly love--and only a parent whose son or daughter is directly involved. If Sarah weren't actually on stage, doing actual DANCING, there's no way I'd be there. I can think of about a million other places I'd like to be on a warm summer's day (warm being a relative term here--I think we have yet to reach 70 degrees). But darn it, there I sit, through dress rehearsals and multiple performances, because my kid loves it. Well, love may be too strong a descriptor. Let's say she tolerates it. Oh, she LOVES the stage part of it. The dancing, she admits, is getting a bit tiresome. When you're a kid, the moves you're assigned really are kind of dull--a pirouette here, a curtsey there. There's no real action, nothing that makes you go, "Holy crap! That was AMAZING!" Only the bigger kids get to jump and fly in the air. The little ones pretty much just bounce.
Although, I must admit, there's something to be said for bouncing. Each year, I positively CRACK UP when the little-little kids take the stage (the three year olds). Most of them just stand there, staring out into the deep, dark audience, wondering where in the hell they are, and how in the hell they got there. Some immediately freak out and run off the stage. Others never even make it on the stage, and have to be dragged out, so obviously against their will. And then there are the bouncers--the girls that just stand and sort of bounce to the beat of the music. Oh, their teacher is right there on stage with them, inviting them to mimic her movements as she performs the dance right in front of them. But they pay her no mind. Bounce, bounce, bounce. Somewhere in the audience, I can always hear a parent thinking, "I paid HOW much for this?" More than you'd like to know, mister. More than you'd like to know.
But as any parent will tell you, it's not about the dancing. Not really. It's about the bouncing, and the friendships, and the commitment and learning how to finish what you start. It's about the follow-through. So each summer, I sit in the darkened theater, waiting for my kid's one minute and thirty second taste of fame. The price of admission to this moment is steep, indeed (literally, each dance is only a minute and thirty seconds long), but I still think it's worth it.
Plus, you get to keep the tutu. And they're so damn bouncy!