I like this narrow crop. I was trying to get the rest of the class out of the larger really beautiful heart stopping photograph and I thought I was going to hate it but I don't, as it turns out. NM spent an entire Saturday class a few weeks ago trying to come up with maybe a handful of those elusive perfect shots. This won't be one of them, there are goofy kids in the background. Unless, of course, it turns out goofy kids hanging off the barre in the background are ok. Elizabeth's car pool buddy is cropped out on the left which is a shame because they are perfect together. Anyway, here she is five weeks in, doing center work.
It hadn't occurred to me that we were only five weeks in until Ballet Mistress said we were only five weeks in as I handed her the second tuition check 10 days early (because there's no point waiting since it's coming out of this pay period anyway).
How can we only be five weeks in? This is forever, I know this has been going on forever which means we've acclimated. On the way home my girls are talking about food, dinner specifically and Elizabeth is unhappy because her friend has dinner waiting for her when she walks in the door and this is something Elizabeth is still wrapping her head around. Elizabeth, we are in this together, you and me. Just you and me and I'm picking you up on my way home FROM work and I stopped at Mrs. Greens and picked up dinner for the next two nights, maybe three depending on how much we eat plus that zucchini bread you like and I'm sorry, but the vegan cornbread (gag) you love so much was gone already. I pulled a perfect u-turn in the middle of four lanes of suddenly no traffic because I realized I wanted a bottle of wine in the house and I'd been too sick the night before to notice there wasn't any. Be thankful I've stopped feeding you frozen mac & cheese. Look! Fresh mac & cheese! And there appears to be something greenish sprinkled on top. We're going to call that a vegetable and you're going to eat a salad for lunch tomorrow and I can look online and check up on you... don't think I won't (you all know I'm not going to do that, right? you also all know I live in a town with a school system where that information is readily available to me online beginning at 2:30 every day because she uses a preloaded debit account to buy her lunch, right?).
Where was I? Five weeks in and I remember my last ob/gyn with something like five kids of her own saying something about the brain cells going out with the placenta and I've been thinking about this for 13 years now and is this a sexist statement or is it not a sexist statement and I guess not if you operate under the assumption that the birth mother is the primary caregiver / organizer regardless of other obligations. I see what she meant; they didn't LITERALLY go out with all that tissue. It wasn't a blond joke. I should have known better. She wasn't a blond joke sort of woman.
Elizabeth creates a life event in her Facebook account and shares it on my wall. I think about this for awhile but I don't bother asking for clarification because I am arrogant and I think I know my daughter.
(all you parents out there who just nodded your heads smugly, just you wait and all you parents out there who just nodded your heads knowingly, jeeze, it's hard to let go of that sometimes, isn't it?)
Instead I discuss it with NM and it turns out I'm more or less clueless.
She has forgotten that I ever had a garden. I remind her and she says, oh yeah, and I helped you a lot out there, didn't I? Yes, sweetie, you did. And that was just two years ago... ah.
One guest instructor called her Turnish not understanding her name. She was mortally offended. They are still discussing this atrocity in whispers in the back seat on the way home. He is one of the primary company members at the school where they rent space. Whatever, she has a hard name I guess, if you aren't paying attention, or really listening or English isn't your first language and her name isn't exactly common or native English anyway. So everybody lighten the hell up. Turnish. Interesting. Black Swan. No, you may not watch that movie. It gave your sister AND your father nightmares.
Two years is the period of time she took off between the first several years of ballet and starting up again. Two years is the period of time between the restart and the real start.
I'm not clear about the insurance. She hasn't mentioned it but she surely knows the cost in terms of the effect it has on the household. One ballet mom said to me last night while waiting for the doors to open and the girls to pour out (this is the one other working mom with an 8 - 6 or later job - a widow raising her last daughter alone), 'what I need right now is a bushel of 50s. I'm a good girl. I don't over spend but my GOD, it just seems to vanish into thin air these days.' We talked about the girls understanding, really understanding making choices for the first time in their lives. Elizabeth has had to take a hard look at money in the last four years, almost five now, since our lives changed but she's never really had to make personal choices. It's a huge privilege, I remind her when she goes to upset, to have this sort of choice at all. She wants new school clothes. To be fair, she really hasn't had new school clothes at all this year. Again, I remind her, a privilege even though it's a privilege she's had her entire life. Still. Think it through anyway.
But please, can I at least have a new pair of jeans?
No. You may not have a new pair of jeans because I think you're about to need a new pair of pointe shoes and your shoes happen to cost $93.
She screws up her face and mouths 'shit'. Not that a new pair of jeans cost $93; I'm just saying, there are choices. The truth is, she can have a new pair of jeans, she can have two, she just isn't going to get them until the beginning of next month because I don't have another tuition payment until February and this is how it works.
The abject silliness of that Facebook post is in direct juxtaposition to what I see in the slender, cropped portrait of a dancer who is entirely present in one focused, pin-point moment.
That face is epic.