Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Eating My Words

Last Saturday, Rachel had her first dance competition of the season. I should probably preface this post by explaining that Rachel has been dancing since she was three. She has competed the last two years in several local dance competitions with her company. So while the competition atmosphere is not new to us, she is dancing at a new studio this year.

Yes, I am the crazy mom who drives my daughter to Orem twice a week to dance. But I am also the smart mom who knows to leave the dancer well enough alone, lest I become one of those nazi stage moms who are always involved in one dance drama or another. That being said, I usually drop Rach off and pick her up without spending a whole lot of time actually watching her dance. It's not that I'm uninterested, but this is about Rachel, not me. Dance is a huge commitment for Rachel which I am happy to support. But I want her to do it because she loves it, not because she feels an obligation to me. This may sound pretty obvious to most of you, but trust me, there are a lot of whacked out moms in the dance world who live vicariously through their daughters.

With that little disclaimer, I will say that I love to watch Rachel dance. On Saturday, she competed in two numbers: her trio, Country Girl, and her company number, Le Jazz Hot. We made the trek down to the Salt Palace where we promptly parked in the wrong place, causing us to walk an additional 5 blocks out of our way. Normally, not a big deal...but I am nursing a broken foot and I was wearing flip flops in 30 degree weather because those are the only shoes that fit. Ugh! But I digress.

I hung out with Rach in the dressing room until it was time for Country Girl. I sat in the audience and marveled at my wee one up on stage. Tumbling and twirling and smiling. All the while, I sat wondering where she got such confidence, such stage presence. I always get emotional when she is on stage. I'm so very proud, but also so stunned at how quickly she is growing up and away from me.

After Country girl, we headed back to the dressing room. We had two hours to kill before her next number. So I took my little niece home to Sugar House while Rachel hung out with her team and changed into her next costume.

As I returned to the Salt Palace I had a really difficult time finding a parking spot. Down town was crazy busy and I realized that the YW General Broadcast was going on. I barely made it back in time to watch her next number, Le Jazz Hot. Right after she danced I called Tony and told him I'd be home soon and he promised to take me out to sushi. It was only 6 o clock. We'd been at the Salt Palace for about 5 hours, so I was anxious to gather my girl and get on my way.

Here is where I explain that while I watched both of Rachel's numbers, I didn't stick around to watch a lot of the other dancers perform. Mostly I hung out with Rach in the dressing room. While I thought she was darling and was quite impressed with her numbers, I just figured I was biased. I recognize that she is pretty talented, but I wonder sometimes if I don't give her enough credit or praise for her abilities.

When I found Rachel in the dressing room, she told me she wanted to stay for awards. I was not happy. Awards were not until 8:30. I was done. I was tired, I was grumpy, my foot was hurting, I was starving. The last thing I wanted to do was hang out for another 2 hours. She insisted we stay and I insisted we go. I was so frustrated with her. The more I tried to convince her to go, the more she dug her heels in to stay. I even went so far as to tell her that it was a waste of time and she wasn't going to get an award anyway. Yeah, I know, mom of the year over here. So full of praise and positive reinforcement I am. Ha!
Finally, I acquiesced, realizing how important it was to her. We stayed for awards, but I wasn't happy about it and I let her know it more than once. I am ashamed that I acted so horribly and selfishly. This was such a big deal to her, but to me, it was just one incredibly long day. One that we will repeat three more times this month for other competitions.

So now, I'm eating my words. Rachel's trio, Country girl, took first place, high score overall and also won the award for exceptional smiles. Her Company dance, Le Jazz Hot, was awarded platinum (first place), high score overall and the award for exceptional precision.
My girl was on cloud nine and the long, cold walk back to the car didn't seem so bad as she recounted the entire experience to everyone she loved via my cell phone. I'm still a bit ashamed at my bad attitude. I won't soon forget how my pride in her was somewhat tempered by my disappointment in myself. She teaches me, this little wonder, oh how she teaches me.


Chelle said...

There is no one else I'd rather have "twinner posts" with than you, my friend.

I cry every time my daughters dance, too. And I hope I never stop. It is a wonderful flood of happy parenting emotion that I cherish.

love you! and congrats to your sweet girl.

Brooke said...

go rachel! she's an amazing girl.

(and you're an amazing mom.)

carolyn said...

What a joy for me to watch your terrific kids grow and blossom and what a great mom you are!

Jana said...

Rachel you rock. You have every right to be a proud mama!!!

cindy said...

Rachel is soooo adorable and soooo talented! Is it ok if I live vicariously through her?
Love your blog by the way...hope you don't mind if I watch and learn as a newbie!!!

Melissa said...

Good for her, she is so beautiful!! This whole dance thing is just crazy here...Hailey wants to start competition but I'm not sure I want the time's a lot of work, as you already know. But she really wants it so I am looking into switching studios next year!