I had no idea it would feel this bad.
That last night I would feel a lump in my throat.
That this morning I would wake and cry.
I knew it was coming.
I just didn’t know it would hit like a freight train.
Thinking about the dance recital –
I am not sure how I will get through it.
How I will hide the emotion and sadness.
So that I can bask in the joy of our final performance together.
Five years ago when you were 7 years old – you became my ballet student.
That is when I knew what it was all about.
While we both loved dancing,
It was evident immediately that you would be different from me.
All of the years that I spent dancing, were all to lead me to you.
I began dancing at the age of 3.
I loved it more than anything.
But performance was not my thing.
Always filled with stage fright and never confident that the stage was mine to take.
I could not explain it to anyone until now.
How does someone love dance but be gripped with fear in such a way they could not perform.
I never believed I belonged on that stage.
So I found a way to be a part of it without sharing the lights.
Twenty-two years ago, I began teaching.
Where I could share my passion and forget my fear.
But I never forgot my disappointment.
The disappointment I felt in myself.
For being afraid.
Wishing I was someone else.
The dancer on the stage.
But when you became my student five years ago…
It all made sense.
The road I’ve traveled led to you.
You were meant to be the dancer - not me.
Five years ago I found you in my classroom.
My daughter and my student.
Training you has been my pleasure.
My greatest dancing joy.
More than anything else I accomplished in nearly 39 years of dancing…
There is you.
Looking up to find you at my barre –
Watching your first position expand over the years.
To watch your graceful port de bra breathe.
To see your genuine smile warm an audience.
Your talent light the stage.
The confidence and the ease that live within you.
Never inside me.
You are the dancer I wanted to be in my heart.
You are the dancer I always felt I couldn’t dig deep enough to find within –
Now I understand.
Dancing for you is life.
It is your air to breathe.
That is why my path didn’t lead to the stage.
I would not dance so that you could soar.
There are no words to tell you what teaching you has meant to me.
I always knew the day would come that you would no longer be my student.
I always knew that it would be time for you to move on.
I just never knew how fast the time would pass.
And how soon it would be over.
Thank you for sharing it all with me.
For being My Girl.
My incredibly lovely ballerina.
No matter what happens from here –
These past five years were the best I ever could have asked for.
The weeks we spent studying together in New York City were priceless.
Walking those streets to train at American Ballet Theater together,
An experience treasured forever.
No matter what else you go on to accomplish.
No matter what stages you grace.
The time we spent together in the studio-
Working, studying – sweating
That is forever.
Timeless in my heart.
Your sweet face looking back at me in the mirror,
Emblazoned upon my soul.
Because of that, I no longer feel that I failed.
I no longer feel that I blew my chance.
I no longer feel disappointed in myself.
It was never about me, My Girl.
It was always about you.
So that you could fly.
My job is done.
I will feel an emptiness without you in my class.
There will be something huge missing.
I shall take my seat in the audience…
As your mom.
Your biggest fan.
"Mommy, how did I do?"
"Well, Baby, do you want to know as your ballet teacher or as your mother?"
"What do you mean?"
"As your teacher, we have some things to work on."
"What about as my Mom?"
"You were perfect, Baby."
~ A private conversation between me and My Girl.
"You and me against the world,
Sometimes it seems like you and me against the world,
When all the others turn their backs and walked away,
You can count on me to stay.
Remember when the circus came to town
How you were frightened by the clown,
Wasn't it nice to be around someone that you knew,
Someone who was big and strong and looking out for
You and me against the world,
Sometimes it seems like you and me against the world
And for all the times we've cried I always felt that
God was on our side.
And when one of us is gone,
And one of us is left to carry on,
Then remembering will have to do,
Our memories alone will get us through
Think about the days of me and you,
Of you and me against the world."
~As sung by Helen Reddy