When I was three my parents enrolled me in dance class. At the end of the season there were two recitals. One for the advanced students — the ones who could follow directions and make some kind of movement that would pass for “dance”; And another recital for the remedial students — the ones who just kind of stood there or moved at random. The first group did a ballet dance with pink tutus. The second group did the hula with fake grass skirts.
I was in a grass skit and pink lei. I remember being excited about the attention I was getting and for the make-up I got to wear. Not so much for the actual dancing part. I also remember that the photographer had a hard time arranging all of us remedial students for the recital picture. He got a few of us positioned and meanwhile a couple others wondered off. Someone peed in her costume. Another girl started eating her lei.
Then there was the actual recital. All we, the ballet class flunkies, had to do was sort of shuffle our feet from side to side and wave our arms every so often. I just stood there. The entire time. My parents were ridiculously proud. Seriously. I remember them gushing at me afterwards about how well I did, how great it all was. I remember a tight hug from my mom and the sweet smell of her perfume.
A week after the recital, when my mom tried to re-enroll me in class, she was counseled to put me in “a more appropriate activity.” Basically, I was kicked out.
Zoey attended dance camp for the last three mornings. Today was her recital. For the first few minutes she stood on the stage trying to fix a wardrobe malfunction — her shorts had come unsnapped. Once that was fixed, she stood and watched the other kids, occasionally flinging her arms up into the air or stomping her foot. She got distracted during the line portion of the dance and caused a traffic jam. Demetri and I recorded the whole thing. The loudest clapper of ALL the parents was me. No contest. I got tears in my eyes I was so proud. It’s moments like this that I know — know for certain — that Zoey is the child of my heart.