My 5 year old daughter just started her third year of dance classes. We've made it through two years of Tap and Ballet. This year, she wanted to try something new. This year, my little lovely wanted to try Jazz and Hip Hop. As she got ready for class tonight, it made me think.
I could totally handle the Tap and Ballet. Cutesy little outfits, dancing to Taylor Swift or a princess themed song. Hair pinned neatly in a bun, toes pointed, chin up. But we're moving into a whole new world, pardon the Aladdin pun. A world of shorter, more provocative outfits. Sassier music. More suggestive dance poses and movements. And I ask myself, am I ready for this? Is her Daddy ready for this?
The studio does a pretty good job. I don't want to lead you to believe I would allow my daughter to dress like Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" dancing to "Baby Got Back." It's not quite that bad. But it's a small step away from a pretty bun and all things princess.
Mostly, I'm afraid of letting her grow up. Finding the balance of keeping her little and innocent, and not hovering over her. It's a small leap, I know, and there will be more. And the leaps will only get bigger.
It sounds so dramatic, but she is my baby. My first-born. So aren't we allowed to hold them a little closer? Wasn't she just a little baby, randomly bouncing to songs on the radio? Doing a little dance to Beyonce's "Single Ladies" in her underwear? Where has the time gone?
When I watch her dance, I beam with pride. My baby is up there, doing what she's supposed to be doing, having fun, and learning life long lessons. She loves the stage. And I love watching her. So right now I don't care if she's dancing to "A Whole New World" or if she's shaking her rump to Justin Bieber. As long as I get to be there, and get to watch her work her magic, I'll be happy. I'll be looking up at her in awe. The courage she has to take the stage and dance her heart out. And taking mine right along with her.