I wriggled out of a late afternoon meeting last Wednesday and jumped on the A train to catch Thalia’s very last ballet class. I knew she would be happy to see me, but I figured the joy ended there, what with her insistence that she didn’t like ballet anymore and her new affection for hiphop.
She never looked happier.
She preened in the mirror, she ran in giggly circles with a friend, she corrected herself when her grand jete took off from wiggly spaghetti legs, and not the pencil legs she was aiming for. (Her teacher is so good with the metaphors.) She was all lightness and air, butterflies and sunshine; the happy little five year-old ballerina I had always thought she was until she confessed that she wasn’t.
And the turnout. Oh lord, that turnout! First position perfection.
From the dance floor, she waved. She smiled. She gave me the thumbs up sign. She mouthed the words hiiii mooooom. And with every break in the music, she scurried over to the parents area, squeezing my legs in a quick hug before racing back to the barre. She radiated pride.
As the class ended, I took Thalia’s little orange rosebuds from her arms, helped her with her jacket, and asked why she didn’t want to take ballet anymore. After all, it seemed like she was having so much fun.
She thought about it a minute.
“Well, I like it when you’re here, Mommy.”
I thought I could delegate Thalia’s ballet class to her sitter as a midweek after-school activity. I thought it was enough that she was doing it at all. Once again, I misread what is special to her.
Today I will be there, the last slot available in the last beginning ballet weekend class. I will be there all the Sundays I can.
Oh lord, that turnout.
Nate thinks I pushed Thalia into it, living out my own dashed Nutcracker fantasies through her. I swear I didn’t. She pushed me into it.