I am a dance mom. I am not an Abby Lee Miller dance mom because, frankly, I don’t have the time. I cut the checks; I attend the recitals; I begrudgingly tack the costumes; besides that, I’m good. Those kind of dance moms are crazy! They sit at the studio and talk. When they are done sitting at the studio and talking, they sit at the studio and gossip. They are immersed in their daughter’s lives. They are vicariously reliving their youth.
I already did youth, and this is how I lived it:
- I was fit for no other reason than I liked to run around.
- I rode my bicycle to get from point A to point B, not because I needed to exercise.
- Even though most kids complain about it, I liked having a set bedtime. I never felt like I was missing something because I did not realize there was anything to miss. 8:30– I just assumed everything turned off then.
- I didn’t feel guilt when eating a cookie or ice cream.
- I liked helping my mom clean the house.
- I never worried about bills because I did not know what bills were.
- Probably the only drawback to youth was that if I wanted to do anything fun or cool, I had to ask my mom for permission, and more times than not, she said no. I remember that I hated feeling like a baby when I wasn’t one.
I did not dance. I did not compete. I was not a star. I was a normal kid. My mother did not hover over me, just like I do not hover over my daughters. Frankly, I have too many personal pursuits I want to accomplish that I do not have the time to linger in a waiting room. Between work, taking care of a house, and writing, I do not have time to sit in a dance studio for two hours a day. Nope. My daughters go to dance and love it. I pay the bill and I love that I can do that for them. As for youth by proxy– no thanks. My youth is over.
I’ve moved on to middle age, and I am okay with that, and this is why:
- People are overly complimentary when I get in shape. It is not expected any longer.
- I make money, so I can buy what I want. (The fact that I just said this is so ridiculous, I do not buy what I want, I buy what everybody else wants– but at least I have the money to do that!)
- I don’t have a bedtime.
- No one yells at me to wake up when I decide to sleep in.
- I have kids who I can order around– they are slowly learning how to clean the house.
- I do feel guilty for eating cookies and ice cream, but I never feel guilty for indulging in a glass of wine.
- Anytime I want to do something fun or cool, I ask myself, and you know what? I always say yes! I deserve it, you know.
I enjoyed youth, now I am enjoying middle age.
Somehow I have always known to:
- Live each moment, and then be done with it.
- Enjoy each moment and then relish in its memory. I do not try to recapture a moment because I know it’s impossible to do that.
- Create new moments to cherish.
- Live life with selective amnesia– it is better than living with regret.
- Learn from mistakes instead of wallowing in their uncomfortable memories. Nothing is accomplished by doing that.
Yep, so I am a dance mom. I take great pleasure in this middle age role.