The Show Must Go On

The previous day ended like this:

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“It hurts to pump the soap out of the dispenser,” cried Meg.  Although perhaps not as important as her feet in dance, her left arm is nonetheless crucial at certain points in the group routine.  “We’ve worked so hard on this dance.  I can’t let my team down tomorrow!”

When Meg turned 3, I became a dance mom.  I thought I was going to be a soccer mom, but my kids never warmed up to soccer.  “Soccer uniforms are ugly,” she declared.  Certainly true, compared to dance costumes.  We’ve been going to various dance competitions since she was 5.  If I were an outsider walking into these dance events, I’d think that I was observing one of those reality shows where little girls wear false lashes and gaudy makeup to live out their moms’ dreams.  The first time I caked on makeup on my 5-year old’s face, I prayed that the Lord would forgive me and that I wasn’t corrupting her character forever.

I’ve since learned that dance actually requires some major skills.  The girls don’t just stand there looking pretty.  It takes team work, determination, and quite a bit of athleticism.  I still wish we didn’t have to put such heavy makeup on little girls to dance, but at least Meg has picked up some wonderful makeup skills along the way.

Anyway, loaded up on Advil, Meg bravely faced The Day.

Time to get ready for the show

She was still in quite a bit of pain as she applied makeup, but she didn’t want to wear a brace nor her sling.  She got dressed and ran through the routine with the team several times.  On the second to the last time through, she used her left arm to push herself off the floor like normal and felt a sharp pain.  “I think I hurt it again, mom,” she stated while holding back tears.  She worked with the choreographer to modify the routine just a bit.

I took my seat in the audience a few minutes before their routine.  I held my breath as she bravely walked on stage and began dancing with the dozen other girls on the team.  I was just hoping that she wouldn’t break down in the middle of the routine, wincing in pain, and they’d have to call the ambulance to rescue my 11-year old off the stage.  They would have to stop the entire show as they placed her on the gurney, and in the morning the front page of the paper would say…

Sometimes mom’s imagination takes her to strange places.

For the most part, you couldn’t tell that there was anything amiss.  In the two or three instances where she normally would pushed herself off the floor with both arms, she only used her right arm and slipped out of time a tiny bit.  In another spot where she was supposed to really use both arms, she walked off very jazz-like to the wings as if it was planned all along.

Meg, right, with the rest of her dance team

When it was over, I could breathe again.  My heart almost burst with pride. No, it wasn’t her finest dance, but it was her best effort.  She wore her game face the whole time, and she never gave up.

I am glad that she understands when the show must go on.  You can’t just curl up into a ball, sulk in the corner, and give up.  I supposed this is what these extracurricular activities are supposed to teach you: perseverance.  Life lessons.  I don’t care if it’s ice skating, swimming, soccer, or dance — these activities help kids build character so they can someday be functioning adults.  Sometimes, it’s not easy on us mom’s hearts, however.

“First place!” announced the judges.  Never mind that they were the only entrants in this particularly category.  I thought they deserved the gold medal.

Can they give out medals to moms too, please?

Meg and her friend Ally after the show, relieved.

What activities do your kids do, and how have they helped them grow?  How have they helped you grow as a mom?