Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tiny Dancers

Last Sunday, my daughter Cookie experienced the power of some pretty potent cliches.  One of them is "What goes around comes around."  Another is "Paybacks are hell."

Rewind to twenty-five or so years ago during the Pre-Googie Era.  In this former life I was a harried young working mom with two little kids.  At times it seemed their sole mission in life was to embarrass me in public, to subject me to the kind of humiliation that made me want to pry up the nearest manhole cover, jump in feet first, and take up residence in the sewer with the Ninja Turtles.

One such incident occurred when, at age two, Cookie was asked to carry the crown for the Homecoming Queen at our local community college.  In all modesty, I believe I can say she looked beautiful, with her long blonde hair streaming across the shoulders of a floor-length red gown.  She carried the sparkling crown ever so carefully on a plump little pillow.  Her march into the gym, stately and elegant, was enough to make any mother pop her buttons.  However, once the lights dimmed and the queen was crowned, the coronation music apparently struck a chord that made Cookie want to dance.  And dance.  And dance some more.

All around the gym Cookie whirled and twirled and swirled and pirouetted, executing moves she continued even after the music stopped.  I ended up having to go out onto the floor, scoop Cookie up, and cart her off kicking and screaming.  The crowd roared with laughter.  So much for a regal atmosphere; the royal court had been upstaged.  At that point I was ready for someone to throw a sheet over my head and call the undertaker.

I couldn't help recalling this incident when I read Cookie's Facebook description of her experience at Sooby's first dance recital last Sunday. She begins with a disclaimer: "I want to say I am so sorry to all the ballet students, moms, dads, grandparents, and innocent old sick people who had to witness the spectacle of my three children during the recital today."  She goes on to present a play-by-play account that evoked even my sympathy.  It seems that, in her case, "what [went] around" came back around several times and then some.  Here is a chronology of the events as she relates them:
  • Sooby rips her tights in the car on the way.
  • Sooby engages in a shouting match with a fellow dancer and pulls her own tutu up to her neck before the music starts.
  • Pooh screams that he wants a popsicle.
  • Sooby decides to just spin instead of doing the practiced dance routine.
  • Across the room, Bootsie wakes up and cries, as video cameras roll.
  • Cookie rushes across the room to Bootsie, leaving Pooh screaming.
  • Sooby cries because she can't dance to the "beautiful song" the older students are now dancing to.
  • As Cookie tries to console Sooby, Pooh escapes and ends up dancing with the older students.
  • Sooby performs her tap number facing the wrong way.
  • Cookie slinks out the back door, kids in tow. 
I hate to admit it, but I believe this may trump my homecoming story.  And although I would like to smirk and quip something smart-alecky about "just desserts," I just can't.  A strong sense of empathy deprives me of the feeling of satisfaction to which I am entitled and for which I have so patiently waited all these years.

Hang in there, Cookie.  I love you.  Your three beautiful children are the light of my life.  Things can't be as bad as they seemed to you last Sunday.  But while you work through the slow process of recovery from this fresh trauma, you can perhaps find comfort in yet another cliche from my vast repertoire:  "This too shall pass."  And, you will find, it shall pass all too soon.


  1. This story has it all...humor, tenderness, empathy, and...justice! I loved it!

  2. Great post! I do feel sorry for everyone involved and we probably all have similar stories!

    Isn't there just a little piece of you that can hardly wait to see what your granddaughter puts your daughter through when she hits the awesome teen years?

  3. My oh my, we've all been there I think! Great story. One of my favs, "this too shall pass". Thanks for linking up with me :)

  4. Yes, it *is* indeed just desserts, but you did the right thing by not pointing that out. So many times I want to say "HA! Payback!" to my daughter when her kids drive her crazy, but I bite my least for a short while.

    Cute story. :)