Mom had me in ballet lessons when I was six and let me just tell you, I could twirl!
I practiced at Miss Peggy’s dance studio and eagerly awaited “The Recital”.
On dress rehearsal night we performed our songs to an empty auditorium in order to get a feel for the stage and I felt a little let down.
All that practice to dance in front of NOTHING?
My Mom assured me that tomorrow would be the REAL performance and there would be all kinds of people, but it didn’t do much for my enthusiasm level.
The next day I pulled my white tights on like the trooper I am. I shimmied my way into my sparkly yellow leotard and I dutifully stepped into my fluffy tutu.
I did not want to go to this recital….but it was too late. I couldn’t possibly break the news to my Mom now. She couldn’t wait to see me shine on stage like the star I am and I would not disappoint her.
I pulled my long gloves over my arms and found each fingers proper slot.
I tip tapped my shoes out to our enormous van and climbed in.
As we pulled away Mom kept glancing at me in her mirror and before we even left the neighborhood she said, “Kathy, you look sad! Are you sort of feeling like you might want to just skip the recital?”
I nodded apologetically and she was all, “how about we just stay home…”
And I blinked in disbelief because we were not the type of folk to skip out on recitals and game days at the last minute. In fact, back then…the child wasn’t really given a choice.
“Are you sure? I mean it’s up to you!…if you want to go to your recital we still can.”
And I was all, “No dear sweet Jesus heavens ABOVE, let’s stay HOME!”
But I said it much nicer than that and she triple checked I was sure about the decision and I. was. SO. relieved. Even though I felt a tiny bit bad about disappointing her.
Years later I asked her about that night. “Mom, you remember that time you let me skip my recital and we were ON our way??”
And she was all, “Ohhhh yes! I had to pack you up in that van and Dad was so sick. I couldn’t stand to leave him knowing he could have a seizure at any moment. His cancer had gotten to a point where at any minute a good day could flip to a bad day. I thought if we could go to your recital quickly with your sisters in charge at home, maybe we would be okay. It was just awful. When I saw that you were having doubts and you said you wanted to skip it I. was. SO. relieved! Even though I didn’t want you to feel disappointed.”
Amazing the things we are willing to endure to avoid disappointing one another. Sometimes it’s worth it to have that little “Are we sure about this?” conversation. And sometimes that conversation is just one you have with yourself.