When I was a tired mother of a baby and a toddler, I enjoyed reading one chapter of the book “Mitten Strings from God” before I went to sleep each night. Her nostalgic, beautifully written stories of motherhood made me savor my children as gifts, instead of just work all day. So, every now and then, I want to stop and write a little story about my children to keep a right perspective. To slow down and treasure these days with my little people. And hopefully, when you finish this story, you will remember something you did with YOUR little darling that you want to “stop and smell”.
Yesterday was another red-letter day for me as a mom. It was my darling baby girl Esther’s first ballet lesson! She just turned three this spring, so she is a bit young. But when my friend found a cute summer class, I said IS THE POPE CATHOLIC? I HAVE A BABY GIRL AND YES I WANT HER TO TAKE BALLET!!!
My kind mother enrolled my sister and me in ballet. Not when we were three, but probably around age 10. I remember feeling so proud when my mom would slick back my hair into a tight bun. Then she would douse us in a cloud of hair spray to keep it in place. We went to a Christian ballet school where we wore modest recital costumes and danced to worship music. I feel ballet teaches girls confidence, poise (we are southern, y’all!), good posture, and, of course, it’s a lot of fun.
Esther’s ballet class was in the late afternoon. I had meticulously planned the day out so she could nap before the class, and then we would leave baby Hannah and Samson with a babysitter for our special “big girl” date. But my tiny ballerina did not sleep a wink because she was too excited.
FINALLY, I pulled her out of her princess bed to get ready and leave. We had been talking about this day for months. “Esther! It’s time to go to ballet class! Let’s get your tights on!”
And that was the moment. That was the moment that hit me like a train. God gave me this precious baby GIRL, and we were about to go to her first ballet class.
Is this my real life? Somebody pinch me. How blessed I am! I can’t believe God made me a mama! I can’t believe he gave me a darling GIRL! Thank you, Lord, for this little gift from above! I do not take it for granted!
I sat her down in my lap to put her tights on. (I didn’t know how else to do it – ha!) Then slowly yanked up the “sparkly pink” tights over her tan toddler legs. Next we pushed her arms through the black leotard, that showed off her little girl pot-belly. SO CUTE!!!!
And of course, I savored each hairbrush stroke, pulling her scratchy post-swimming blonde hair into her first ballet bun.
The babysitter arrived, but as Esther and I were about to leave, Samson unexpectedly jumped up from playing Transformers. “Mom, I want to go! I want to cheer Esther at her ballet class!” What? He started pulling on flip flops. I looked at his mismatched outfit that he had chosen, thought about the possibility of him getting bored for an hour class. But when he and Esther were both looking up at me with big eyes, how could I say “no” to a big brother who asked to “cheer” his little sister at her first ballet class.
When we arrived, her teacher immediately stuffed Esther’s ballet shoe strings inside her shoes like all the other girls (my bad) and then asked Esther to go spit out her gum in the trash can (my bad again – real classy ballet mom here). *Newbie Ballet Mom alert.*
The teacher instructed the girls to sit in a circle. The miniature dancers were all age three or four. Esther called out across the room to me, in front of everyone, “Mama! I HOPE I WIN!!!!”
(What can I say. We play a lot of sports.)
Esther had a glorious time. She listened intently with big Precious Moments doll eyes to all the instructions. She gave me a thumbs up across the room. And I gave her one back. Her cheeks were bright red and she felt so proud. Just as I did, when I danced.
And, three times, her six-year-old, white-haired older brother in the mismatched outfit beside me chanted, “GO ESTHER! GO ESTHER! GO ESTHER!”
After the class, I took them for a special treat smoothie under the blazing Texas summer sun on the way home. At a stop light, I turned around and looked at my tiny dancer in her car seat in our grey minivan, quietly sucking her smoothie from a red straw.
And I thought, I AM SO BLESSED. Thank you, God, for the gift of children.
“Behold, children are a gift from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” Ps. 127:3