You’re in the throes of rehearsals for your first big recital. While in class, you are at turns both shy and goofy. Sometimes you get a streak, and become the loudest, wiggliest girl of them all. At the beginning of the year, you and your closest friend would stand stock still and follow directions so intently, first position, chasse´, back to center. As soon as Mrs. Emily would turn to change the music, you both would break from your statue characters and wiggle your hips side to side, bump your knees up and down, just to see the skirt swish around you. When Mrs. Emily would turn back, your chins would pop up, and you’d be all seriousness again. I had to tape it with my phone so that Mrs. Emily could see it, and we both laughed hard at the little-girl-ness of it.
Don’t ever lose that swishy, twirly feeling. Hold it close and revel in it.
I’m not sure if I’m ready for this, dearest. I am used to your toddler self, giggly and sweet and lovely; and yet here you stand before me each class day, calm, collected, studious school girl face gazing on the back yard as I pull your whispy hair into the required two side buns, one each side. You hardly ever complain about it, even though your thin short hair always makes the endeavor an adventure. Rarely, they come out in passable forms and off we go; but more often than not, the hair sticks out at all angles and refuses to be tucked in, and then we have to pull it out and go at it again. The same with your shoes- they are properly tight, which means that you have to patiently pull them on and arrange the elastic and cord. You rarely ever get frustrated. By the time we’re done, you stand before me, transformed. My princess girl with dirt on her Tevas suddenly morphs into this girl of grace and poise and sometimes manages to look so much older than her years that I do a double take. A deep breath away and you’re standing there as I put your bridal veil on.
Please, dearest, always remember to be patient with yourself. Extend grace to yourself even when you feel like you’re the worst person in the world on the worst day.
Mrs. Emily always has a time at the end of class when she puts music on and you all free dance. I’m always patently curious what you’ll choose that day. Some days, you are trying to imitate the amazing arabesques you’ve watched the Russian ballerinas do on YouTube. Other days you kick out your feet, looking for all the world like a little Scottish dancer. Other days you stand in one place and just shimmy and wiggle and throw your arms out. Whatever it is, you go at it with your whole body and in complete confidence. One step to the next, with complete and utter joy at what you’re doing and how your body moves. I watch you test it, play with how your arm is moving, your leg- and you smile so big at yourself in the mirror when you do something you tried to do. I watch you grin at yourself when you goof up something you are trying, and you just sort of do this sideways shimmy away from the missed step and into the next.
Always, always, always dance your heart out, baby girl. In life, in love, in hope. Trust that the Creator that made you is guiding those steps. Throw your arms out and spin. Revel in the joy.
Love always and forever, from eternity to the stars and back again,