‘Today should have been my daughter’s recital, but instead, she and her friends decided to make the most of it.’: Dance mom in awe, ‘They remembered to celebrate what matters most’

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“Today should have been the day of my daughter’s dance recital. But instead of waking up early to apply her makeup and put her hair into a dancer’s bun, I lay in bed thinking about all the things we have missed out on this spring season. I considered all the ways our children’s identities have been stripped from them in the blink of an eye and the many things they were forced to leave undone. My daughter who has not been herself in weeks could have chosen to stay home and mope but instead, she and her friends decided to make the most of today…but that is not really where this story begins.

Courtesy of Adrienne Anzelmo

Seven years ago during my first dance recital weekend, we arrived with one garment bag and a side satchel containing only bottled water and a small snack. I found myself feeling immediately underprepared and inadequate as I entered the performing art center. I watched as the dancers and moms filled in the backstage space and quickly became overwhelmed. I did my best to become invisible in the chaos, stepping back in hopes of blending in. I watched as the backstage dance world unfolded around us.

Giant dance racks, garment bags, and makeup pallets laid about. Older dancers preparing with earbuds in and dance shoes on, focused on running their dances. Other dancers were stretching out in the corners of the room and the littlest of dancers were tucked into small spaces propped over coloring books and tablets waiting their turn to take the stage. I was in awe by it all and wondered if my daughter would hang on to the sport long enough to be engulfed in the culture I saw before me.

Fast forward seven years and here we are. I have a backpack filled with bobby pins and aqua net hair spray. I am no longer overwhelmed or underprepared as a dance mom. I also now see the same spirit in my daughter and her friends that I saw in those older dancers all those years ago. They are true performers, focused, disciplined, and alive in a new way each time they take the stage.

Courtesy of Adrienne Anzelmo
Courtesy of Adrienne Anzelmo

In all the ways, the dance world is exactly what I expected it to be. I did find myself surprised at the deep and meaningful relationships that developed between my daughter and her dance friends. I knew dance would be a common bond for them, but the art of dance combined with the instructors and culture of their studio has created an amazing dynamic of teamwork and comradery for these kids. In a world where I constantly see kids ripping each other down, I watch these kids lift one another up, encourage one another, nurture one another and care for one another.

Today the dancers had an opportunity to reflect (from 6 feet apart with appropriate social distancing) on what dance means to them. They took a moment to consider what could have been, what should have been on recital day. They had a chance to show their support to their sport, their studio, their teachers. Instead of staying home and being sad there was no recital, they banned together and wrote loving messages in chalk outside the dance studio.

Courtesy of Adrienne Anzelmo

Although the lessons of this year are different than the ones any of us expected, they are no less important. On recital day 2020, I hope my daughter and her friends take from this the importance of celebrating the things that matter most. I hope they remember to always look for the silver lining. These girls grabbed their costumes today and danced their way through the day regardless of the hand they were dealt with. This felt like a lesson we could all learn from right now.”

Courtesy of Adrienne Anzelmo

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Adrienne Anzelmo of Massachusetts. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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