Parenting moments to live for

My daughter recently had her first ballet recital.  Though she was on stage for no more than about five minutes, it was one of those moments as a parent that I live for.

My daughter had a couple months’ worth of lessons at a local center for the arts. She loved her lessons. She enjoyed her teacher, Mrs. Val, who was great with little ones.  For a long time she had been pretending to do ballet everywhere she went.  She’d make up routines and dance around the living room at our house, her grandparents’ houses and just about anywhere.  Needless to say, she was excited to take classes.

My daughter was happy to take some time and pose for photos in our backyard before leaving for her first ballet recital.

Then came recital Sunday.  We got her dressed in her pretty pink leotard and managed to get all of her red curls pulled up into a ponytail.  And we were off.  We filed into the auditorium with her baby brother, a video camera, a still camera and three carnations in tow.  We were ready.  Lexiana was happy to pose for some photos on the stairs leading up to the stage and even on the stage itself.  My child loves to perform.  She loves to be on stage.  Just a couple of nights before, she’d been on stage in front of 700 people at a gospel music singing with my in-laws and spent her time waving to the audience, dancing a bit and bowing for them. I had no worries about her having stage fright.

Her grandparents all came in to take their seats in the audience.  My dad leaned over and asked if I was nervous.  I really wasn’t.  I had thought I might be.  I was just excited and I was proud.  There wasn’t much riding on this performance.  It was just to show off the things my daughter had learned during her weeks in class. This was certainly no Russian ballet.  I’d seen these 3 to 5-year-olds practice and knew they might end up going in different directions and have trouble balancing on one leg here and there, but they’d give it their best and they’d be adorable.  And I knew, no matter what happened there would be an audience full of parents and grandparents who were proud.  That’s just how it works.

My daughter’s class was the first to go. She walked right up onto stage with no qualms and did her routine.  I recorded the whole thing.  And I watched through tear-filled eyes with such pride as she danced around the stage.  She wasn’t perfect. But, she did her best.  She was completely adorable.  I was completely proud and thankful.  I marveled at how grown up she has gotten already.

I thought of how this is the first of many performances we will go to for this daughter of ours.  I thought of how we’d come full circle from my own parents sitting in the audience watching me through numerous musical performances.  I know there will be contests and times I’ll be anxious for her.  I know even more how proud I will be. This was just a taste of what is to come.  I cannot wait.  She may not always be doing ballet.  I am a bit concerned she’s inherited her gracefulness from me, and I’m far from graceful.  However, I know there will always be something she’ll do and my husband and I will always be proud.  We’ve got many memories ahead of us.

Being a parent is hard work.  It challenges you to your core.  Sometimes we parents wonder why we ever wanted kids in the first place.  Sometimes we cry from frustration. Sometimes we count through anger.  Sometimes we fret that we’re messing everything up.  Sometimes we struggle to figure out what is best for our children.  But then there are these kind of moments.  There are moments of great laughter and pride.  There are moments of watching your daughter take her first steps onto the stage at her first recital and seeing her grow and become more of her own person than she ever was before and your heart nearly bursts with pride and your eyes fill with tears.  These are the kind of moments that make all of the hard work, all the frustration, struggles and exhaustion more than worth it.  These are the moments we parents live for.

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