This past weekend was my daughter’s dance recital. She was in three out of four shows, and some kids were in all four, performing in as many as ten numbers. That’s a lot of dancing.
Confession: I am the world’s worst dance mom. It takes me by surprise every year, and inevitably I find myself racing to the dance store for extra tights and to the drug store for cheap red lipstick, blue eyeshadow and bobby pins the morning of. I used to complain … a lot. Let’s be honest. If you are not a dance aficionado, 3+ hours watching hundreds of dancers with a wide range of skill level can be less than fun. Here is why I stopped complaining. A couple years ago, my husband yelled at me and told me to suck it up, and get with the program. He doesn’t do makeup or hair, he doesn’t know the difference between lyrical and fusion, but he strongly supports Lorelei and her interest in dance.
He is far from perfect, but he tries. One year, he did fall asleep for a bit, but in his defense, the night before was a late one, he didn’t snore and he woke up before her number. As he will tell any dad — or mom — who complains about the once-a-year recital, these kids work so hard all year and you only have to go to one event, usually in an air conditioned auditorium. If the smile on your daughter’s face isn’t enough motivation, think about the small amount of time dance asks of you. Other than writing a check, dance is probably the lowest parental involvement of any activity your children will do. All year, you drop, you pick up … that’s it. How much time do you spend at sporting goods stores, how much money do you spend on the latest and greatest equipment and how much stress do you undergo racing to fields for practices and games?
You don’t have to love dance to appreciate the athleticism and talent. I was blown away yesterday at the RPAC recital by girls whom I’ve been watching since they were tiny chubby kids, become strong, graceful, confident performers. I know a dad who says the problem with having kids who love to perform, is you always know how it is going to end. This may be true, but isn’t there a joy in this? In a performance, everyone is rooting for your kid to succeed, and they are doing so silently. After hundreds of hours on hot and cold sidelines, listening to parents scream at their kids, scream at my kids, scream at each other, I have come to love this quiet appreciation for what the kids enjoy. So dads, next year, when your daughter is prepping for her dance recital, make sure you tell her how excited you are to see the fruit of all of her hard work. Make sure she knows you respect her passion. Make sure she doesn’t see you roll your eyes or hear you crack snide jokes to the caveman sitting next to you. Man Up! Bite your tongue, and drink a Red Bull if you need to. There is nothing quite as empowering for a young girl as the love, support and respect of her father. Also, neanderthal is soooo 1980s. There is nothing as sexy as a good father.