Hard wood polish, concrete basement aging walls, and ammonia mirror cleaner permeated my senses from the tender age of four until my legs stretched into the age of 12. The art and beauty of music, mixed with me senses to fill my life with dance. Poise, balance and classical appreciation taught me the fine and delicate beauty of ballet.
The expanse of mirror covered the entire wall. Each ballerina sat on the bench with one foot perched on the wooden seat, lacing her slippers, while the other leg dangled to hold her balance until she switched feet and laces. I waited every week for this day to arrive. Today, that same room would be so tiny and restricting, but the eyes and mind of a child, especially in an element where her soul is learning the true art of beauty ~ The walls disappear.
First position. Second position. Plie’. Passe’.
Poise. Balance. Posture and sweeping motions are etched into my memories as we took our position at the barre’. A perfect bun neatly piled and twirled into pink on top of our heads, and the alignment of our heads, hands, fingers and toes to sync together in the grand shiny mirror.
Out of practice today, my ballet and my appearance barely resemble this inner-ballerina. I still have my pointe’ shoes, and a tiny recital costume packed neatly into tissue paper in my hope chest. The songs and the discipline of ballet are embed into my memory and is continually jogged by music and by the basic rhythms of life.
The beauty in the dance I re-live every day with my daughters reminds me of the discipline, balance and posture required to make an amazing artist.
The mother daughter dance is a process.
When their tiny toes begin to take unsteady steps, we are the barre’ that gives them balance. We step up willingly and guide them by the hand. The warm-up stage.
The next thing we know, the ballet shoes are three sizes too small, and the new price tag for the dance causes us to shift uncomfortably. Doubting the investment. This is the nature of the dance. The free-spirited, dancing and singing princess is turning into a pensive, self-aware beauty, and the awkward moves of the past have become more deliberate and purposeful.
Mothers dance with their daughters every day in the dance called life. Little feet and minds that need our steady hand and the advice.
When the day arrives that they position their hands on the barre’ before the mirror and they are older, growing, wondering and have more questions than what they have learned – they may not ask us for the answers.
The dance is about the steps. Not about the performance.
When I realized that my daughters need to see my faulty moves and know that it is ok to make mistakes, I let go of the barre that I was holding too high.
Often, there are days where I can feel we are in sync together. Our conversations are easy, and their choices, words and actions seem to fall into an easy rhythm of a mother daughter relationship.
Other days, I feel as if there is a wall of resistance. We run into one another at every turn, our words are misunderstood and the frustrations mounts as we don’t seem to see eye to eye.
In the end ~ every day is a practice run. A swirling of emotions, body language and learning how to be mother and daughter.
Remembering the most important memory of my ballet years, was the lesson I learned from the very beginning. Keep your eyes on the teacher. Follow her steps, her lead and her graceful moves. Allow our dance to mimic hers.
Every day I am turning to Jesus for those instructions. How to act. How to react. When to talk and when to be quiet. How to relate and how to lead.
The Mother Daughter dance is a work in progress. Until the day we step away from the barre’ and allow them to take the floor on their own, their will be toes stepped on, words of misunderstanding and not so graceful moves on our part.
My toes are tender, yet have been tread upon many times with seven daughters in my home. My tongue has been harnessed with self-control and loosed with regret.
I have danced for years and every time a new routine comes along I remember ~ Keeping following the teacher’s lead.
Do you find it hard to put on your dance shoes each day? Perhaps it will help to remember the beauty even when you misstep.