Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Dance Story...

You have to realize, first of all, that Gary has been talking for the past year of coaching Sydney in her first season of softball. He has loved coaching both Delaney's and McKenna's teams over the years and now that Sydney is almost 4, she can play her first year of what is called "Sweetees" softball at our girls park. After diving into much more competitive ball with Delaney now that she plays for a travel team, the allure of four-, five-, and six-year-old softball had become very appealing. All of us (Gary would coach, and the girls would be his assistants) had been looking forward to getting started and seeing how Sydney might do playing the sport that all of us love. Sure, she might not actually catch any balls or hit any homeruns, but she'd look cute chasing butterflies and dancing around in the outfield.

Ahh, yes...dance.

You all know that Sydney pretty much wears dresses 24/7; she loves to play dress-up; and we're all about the tea parties and tiaras. And lately, when we are talking to McKenna about college plans or Delaney talks about how much she wants to be a teacher someday, Sydney pipes in with, "I'm gonna be a ballerina when I grow up."

Now, Sydney has been looking forward to softball like the rest of us. She has practiced with Gary some in the backyard and even has a pink bat.

But, yes...dance.

Gary and I have always been big proponents of not pushing our kids to do what WE want them to do, but to let them figure out their own interests. If Gary could have his choice, all three of the girls would be softball queens...and they would also just happen to all love to hunt. The hunting excursions convinced neither McKenna or Delaney that it's fun to be in the woods at dawn and McKenna played soccer for three years (talk about being miserable; we knew none of the rules and Gary kept yelling that the only "real" sport that has offsides is football!). McKenna also was a cheerleader for two years at her middle school and Gary never saw the value in that one; I had cheered myself many moons ago, though, so I knew that it really did take a lot of athletic ability. I was kinda keen on Delaney doing drama this year at school, but she opted for the Math Team (how she got that ability I'll never know, since equations are like poison to me!).

And then both McKenna and Delaney danced when they were younger. But you should have seen the joy Gary displayed when Delaney, after her first year of park ball, gave up ballet and tap for softball. She had made her choice and, hallelujah!, it matched with what we both liked better after all.

And now along comes Sydney. And I guess Gary and I are getting so much more mellow in our old age, because several weeks ago Gary said to me, "I'm not sure that Sydney's gonna be my other softball girl. She'd probably like dance better." (This said while she twirled around us in one of her myriad dresses!). I was really shocked when he made this announcement, thinking we'd be dragging her kicking and screaming onto the ball field.

We still held onto softball plans, though, until Fate intervened. Delaney's travel team schedule was announced and her practices would be on the same nights at Sydney's game. Since this was going to be a family activity, with both older sisters involved, we knew we couldn't manage to do both. Gary and I talked about it yesterday and we decided that maybe we should let Sydney try dance out this year and see if she liked it. If she didn't like it, ball was still an option next year (yep, we're still providing us with an "out"!).

But would she go for the plan? After Gary found out that the dance studio in our area had one opening for a new student in the 3- and 4-year-old beginners class, I decided to pop the big question on Sydney. "Do you want to take a ballet class?" I asked her yesterday afternoon, while the three girls and I sat at Dairy Queen for an after-school ice cream. McKenna and Delaney were excited too and couldn't wait for her reaction.

Do you remember that scene from "Home Alone" when the boy has his mouth wide open in astonishment? Well, that was Sydney when I asked her!! She opened her mouth wide and we all just laughed at her. "But I have to get a tutu," was her first statement about it.

So off we went to get a leotard, tights, and shoes before the first class started in another hour. At the dance store, she traipsed around in her red leotard (she avoided the white, and went with the brightest they had!), tried on her slippers, and then left already dressed in our costume.

At class, she grabbed the teacher's hand and marched right into the classroom. I could hear the music reverberating through the walls and eagerly waited to hear her assessment of the class in another hour. I just knew she'd have a great time. She loved meeting other girls and, after all, she was learning to be a ballerina!

When class ended, though, out she tromped and ran right up to me crying. "I wanted you, Mommy!" she cried dramatically, throwing her arms around my necks. Surprised, I looked at the teacher who told me that she had a great time...until it was time to put on her tap shoes. I hadn't had time to buy her tap shoes before this first, impromptu class, telling her we'd get them before next week's class. When all other 13 girls put on their tap shoes, though, she broke down. (I should have anticipated this,since this is exactly how Sydney would react; she wants to do everything just right and when everyone else was putting on their tap shoes, I'm sure she felt like she wasn't doing what she was supposed to be doing.) So... a hysteric breakdown ensued.

She cried for a good 20 minutes, all the while Delaney almost crying too because she had been so excited for her sister. I reassured her that it would all be beter next week when she would have her shoes, although she told me one time that "I don't like dance." After a calm-down period at home, though, she was back into the swing of things. She showed me what she learned (some stretching exercises and a toe point), she told me they twirled a baton to a Hannah Montana song, and then she and Delaney performed a dance and gymnastics show for me. When Gary came home later in the evening, she proudly told him all about it. "You should see it, Pop," she told him. "It's SO cool!"

The best part of the evening, though, was when she discovered Delaney's old dance costumes. Her favorite is the flowy, white dress that she's already stated she's wearing to class next week. And, yes, she's wearing it again this morning.

So, life with a 3-year-old is never dull. All of us love having Sydney in our lives. Her older sisters live through her; you should see the look of fun and pride in their eyes when she's doing a dance for them. I don't think they ever imagined that she'd be this fun, and that they would love her so much!

And 3-year-olds--especially this one who is the third we've been lucky enough to have in our lives--teach old parents like us that change is good... that letting them spread their wings is always better than making them fly to our own wishes... that the "bad" always has an upside and can get "good" again real quick ... and that something as simple as a tutu can bring such excitement.


Patti said...

I think Scout is a little older than Madison but I know exactly how you feel. I am older than you but having a three year old keeps me "Young". I'm very very blessed.

I just know your little ballerina will do wonderfully and you will all get so much joy out of her dancing too.

Mandy said...

Oh how fun! Brittany took dance for three years, and I loved all the outfits and other fun stuff.

Gin said...

This is just too sweet. Love those litle feet.

Linda said...

darling, this is just the most adorable story...I love it, and knew I would be gratified at the end with a beautiful, and totally sweet picture of her in her dress. Wonderful...thank you...you put a huge smile on my face.

Renee said...

Aww, sweet little ballerina girl. My girls tried dance but turned out to like sports better!

Anonymous said...

Just a beautiful story Cheryl. You have such a way with words.

Dawn Bibbs said...

What a great post.

My hubby and I totally agree with you and Gary, with respect to letting the kids choose what they want to do. Markell begged us for years to play "soccer ball" :-). And when we finally let him play, he LOVED it. Even when, after 7 seasons, he wanted to take a break. By the 3rd practice, he was ready to get back on the field. But it was too late by then. Registration for the following season couldn't come fast enough for him :-).

My oldest daughter was a cheerleader (just like her momma). But of course, by the time she picked up her pom-poms, cheerleading had become VERY competive and more like a "real" sport. Boy, those yelling girls wore me SLAP out!

Of course Jayla is our little soccer princess. She took gymnastics and enjoyed it enough. But decided that soccer is her sport of choice. She wants to take Karate this summer...but wants us to PROMISE that she can still play soccer, lol. The girl is 6 years old and is about to start her 6th season of soccer! Fortunately, we love it too!

Love the pix! Probably because I have one who LOVES dressing up too. Can't wait til they can meet. (hint hint)

Delia said...

Your little ballerina is adorable! I hope she doesn't have any more moments like the "tap shoe hysterics" because it sounds like she'll really love dance classes.

Cheryl Wray said...

Patti--There is nothing like three year olds, huh?

Mandy--It is fun!

Gin--I loved that pic.

Linda-- You're so sweet. THanks!

Renee--We haven't had one yet stick with dance, so we'll see how that goes. lol

Cheryl Wray said...


Dawn--I think that is too funny that she's doing soccer next. I can totally see Jayla loving that! You would not believe how crazy my schedule has become, but S and J have got to meet up soon!

Delia--Oh boy, I hope not either. I'm hoping that next week will go smoothly!

Stacy said...

she just sounds so much like my shanny girl!!! aren't they just adorable!!!

NY KAT said...

What's your email address? I'm going to be making my blog private and wanted to invite you to view it. Thanks!

Jeff said...

That was an excellent story. Go Sydney! I hope there are many more dance stories.

And, please let Gary know that the very real sport of hockey also has an offsides rule!

Leah said...

That is so so sweet! She's so cute, and how fun!

Mississippi Songbird said...

Oh, How Precious!

My daughter took dance for a couple of years and didn't care for it.. Then she played softball..Didn't care for it..Now, She wants to cheer. She loves doing the flips and somersaults.
She cheers on the side lines and takes water to the team, while my son plays ball. She is two years younger than my son.

Your little ballerina will do beautifully, especially since she is so excited about it..
The costumes are so fun too...

hippochick said...

I have a dancer in my family. After thirteen years of dance at the studio, four years of dance as a college major, dancing professionally for two and on and on, last year she told me, "Mother, I am not defined by dance". How much fun you are having with your three girls. They grow up so fast. I just found your blog and am enjoying it soo much.

Cheryl Wray said...

Stacy-- :-) Yes, they are just too fun!

Kat--Yes, please invite me on over. My email address is cherylwrit@aol.com

Jeff--I'm sure there will be more dance stories. :-) And TOO funny about hockey. You know that I really don't keep up with hockey, but only because it's not that big down here. If it were more accessible to me, I know I'd be a big hockey fan too.

Leah--Girls are great! I can see Natalie dancing one day too! :-)

Stephanie-- Cheerleading is fun too! McKenna did it in middle school and loved the actual cheering and dancing part of it. She just didn't have really good friends on the squad and some "attitudes" got in the way. But I think cheer is great!

Hippochick--Wow, that is a great story! I bet she is an amazing dancer, though. I'm SO glad you found my blog!

Adrienne said...

awww too cute! I was hoping you had a pic! LOL

Frasypoo said...

How cute is that !!!!!
She' s a little lady !

Theresa Tyree said...

I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, Cheryl, but I actually have tears in my eyes as I read this post. I just loved reading everything about Sydney's new adventure as a ballerina. I'm a little sad, though, and maybe that contributes to my teariness, that I don't have a little girl to go through experiences like this with, but I know God knows what's best for us. I know you might have pondered the same thing as you had your third girl and didn't get a boy you might've wanted, but we have to trust God for what's best, right? Anyway, thank you for sharing this story. It really touched my heart.

PS- I need your snaily so I can get your goodies to you. I guess I lost it.

Cheryl said...

That was a wonderful post. I have a dancer also. She tried all the way through elementary to play basketball and softball.She was just to girly. She is on our hip-hop dance team and she is also on the dance line in the band. Our son has always been big into sports and she tried to follow but it just did not work for her. She is happy with what she chose. Thanks for sharing your story. Your girls are so cute! God Bless!

Anonymous said...

I love the tutu the best! my ballerina is now 7 and wanting to play soccer sniff!
can i borrow your ballerina? I have all kinds of pretty costumes

Phats said...

What a great little story, glad she found dance! :) Also this whole exchange Amused me to know end ;)

"Gary never saw the value in that one; I had cheered myself many moons ago, though, so I knew that it really did take a lot of athletic ability."

Good save Cheryl I knew I always liked you better than your husband! hahaha

Susie Q said...

Just precious! I absolutely love the picture of her feet...just priceless!


Wendy G said...

I think this is the little girl I imagined in my dreams many years ago. I wanted a real honest to goodness girly girl. I never liked ball in school, never felt like I fit in with the ones who did play ball, but now dance...that my dream. Mom and Dad did not have the money to do that so I never got to do the girly stuff. Aww Cheryl, you are so blessed. Please never ever forget that. I love my boy with all my heart, but a girl would have completed me. I never understood all the ball lingo when he played. I am blessed though. My fiance has a 9 year old girl that is about as girly as they come. The only problem is that she lives 400 miles away. but I enjoy her so mcuh when she;s here with me on her visits. Take care and give Sydney a big hug for me please....Take care

rhonda said...

ok I'm crossing my fingers/legs/toes, etc. that she decides that ballet/dance is not her thing...and that she really does want to play softball!!!

Polgara said...

My Niece is called Sydney!
She is two and a half and gorgeous!
This is the first time i have heard of anyone else with the name!
Pol x

Myla said...

I absolutely love this post and your blog. Your daughters sound amazing.