Today my daughter is competing in her last dance competition. As a senior in high school, I recognize this as the first of many lasts. I also know they have a different significance for me than they do for her. She is excited for the ‘next steps’ and I am mourning the loss of my ‘baby’. I had planned to post this after her competition, but considering it will conclude late this evening and be followed by a 2 1/2 hour drive home, I didn’t want to miss my SLICE for today.
When she takes the stage I am hoping I can keep the tears from obscuring my view. I want to see every move choreographed by her wonderful teacher. I can’t fully appreciate her technique the way the judges will, but I want to embrace every emotion her moves evoke. I think back to her first entrance to the stage when she was four. Decked out in blue tulle frock with black patent leather capezios, she tapped her tiny toes like a pony pawing the earth-frisky and fancy free. I couldn’t imagine being prouder. Silly me.
Now poised and practiced, she’ll again step onto that stage as my little babe. Yet somehow she’s morphed into this beautiful young woman who is more graceful than I could ever hope to be. She’ll face her fears and doubts to embody her dance. I won’t care how the judges score her. It will be as meaningless as a grade is to a composed story. It has nothing to do with her experience, or my experience, as she moves across the floor and takes her final bow. All I hope is that I don’t let the gravity of these “lasts” impinge on my enjoyment of the “now”. Perhaps I’ll silently chant her name as a centering prayer and hold that in my heart as her performance number nears. That is surely a mantra that holds meaning for me…Bailey…Bailey…Bailey..