We are late.
I so didn't want to be late.
I'm not sure how we ended up late, I really thought I was on time, but something always creeps up.
She will probably be late to most things in life, as long as I'm in charge of getting her there. Most likely this will result in many arguments during the teenage years, but right now she lives in a world where time doesn't exist and she smiles happily from her carseat, excited about what's in store.
We've been talking about it for weeks, her first dance class, and to say she is thrilled is an understatement.
I whip into the parking spot quicker than I should and Ainsley says Whoa mommy! from the back seat.
We rush inside, where the tiny dancers are already filing into the studio. I hurriedly buckle Ainsley's little tap shoes and pull off her yoga pants. She is pulled off by the teacher before I have a chance to wish her good luck.
I make my way to the crowded one way viewing window. I don't want to be rude, but I also want to be where I can see and yes, take pictures. So I slowly and strategically make my way to the front.
At first, they are all sitting in a circle on the floor. From their muffled voices I think they are introducing themselves to one another.
Soon the teacher and assistants are putting them in three lines. Ainsley, being tall for her age, ends up in the back. As the teacher begins giving simple directions that highlight the differences between left and right, heel and toe, I am watching Ainsley like a hawk and suddenly I realize that I have entered a new phase of motherhood.
Not fear that something will happen to her, not fear that I won't be the mother they deserve...but fear that she will have her feelings hurt. And that breaks my heart. What if she's not good enough? What if she can't keep up? What if she's embarrassed? She's so tiny and frail looking in the body hugging leotard and pink tights. Although I can't hear everything that's being said, I can tell by the way she stands that she is nervous and timid. She is not the normal energetic, full of confidence, little girl that we all know and love. I am worried that her little ego will not be able to handle rejection or failure. Then I try and remind myself that this is a 3-4 year old tap/ballet class and most likely she won't be auditioning for anything anytime soon. But my fear is more about what lies ahead. School is just around the corner and that means new friends and new activities...but it also means little girls who are not friends and activities that she will not be good at. I worry about how I will console her when the heavier bumps in life send her stumbling.
She is not following along with the teacher at all. She forgets to put her hands on her hips. She's not quite getting the whole left - right thing. But as the hour comes to a close, I do notice her understanding a bit more and doing as she's told. She always listens - to other people, that is.
The teacher tells them goodbye and they all file out of the studio to go get measured for the costumes they'll wear in the summer recital.
As she passes me she is beaming, her head held high and that confident glow shooting out of her eyes again.
Mommy!! Mommy, did you see me!! I am a drate (great) dancer!