Because I felt like I needed to put in my time and I was feeling cheap and did not want to buy myself a ticket, I volunteering to help backstage at both of my kids' dance recitals. There is no money in the world that I would not spend to avoid this in the future.
I like to kill fun as much as the next mom, but overseeing 30-plus children in ages from four to 12, plus an alarming number of intimidatingly flexible and charming teenagers, is enough to uncheck the volunteer box for next year.
It was me and a couple of other dance moms in the pit of the P.G. Playhouse, surrounded by tulle, glitter, false eyelashes, spandex and squeals. The bulk of the kids were in the age range of hormones and giggles which made for a challenge even for my fun policing.
When I first got downstairs, I surveyed the room that was getting increasingly warm and at the back of the room was the youngest of the dancers all dressed in beautiful swan outfits. The teacher's assistant was a young dancer that was staying with them to ensure that they were all safe and to get them ready when it was their turn to go on. Three of the kids were jumping on the couch and two other were running around in a circle.
I thought that perhaps this was a job for a more experienced fun police officer so I walked over to the group and pointed to the jumped kids and said, firmly: "No jumping on the couch. Bums on seats." The TA looked at me in gratitude and relief when the little monkeys stopping jumping and sat down on the couch. The TA and I got them sorted out in a colouring competition and she said, "They just wouldn't listen to me. I tried to get them to stop."
I reassured her that we know she was doing her best and sometimes a mom just needs to step in and shut down all of the fun. That's our job. The littles were so excited and so very sweet and when they got back downstairs after their show, they were all smiles and ran over to give me a high five.
It was a little fun to be downstairs with all of the kids getting ready and shaking off their nerves. They talked to me about their favourite dances and dance styles and how much they loved the fluffy costumes. I have seen most of the girls around the studio and in some of the highland competitions and dance outs around town.
My daughter is in highland and ballet and the older highland girls have been really kind and sweet to a little five year old who doesn't know what she is doing yet but loves every second of it. My son loves to dance and at the recital, he knew all of the choreography and his smile lights up the stage. My daughter smiled and danced as hard as she could and I could not have been prouder when I was watching from the wings.
Whether or not I volunteer next year, we will have to wait to see how much I forget about the hormone pit and the giggling.
But it wasn't so bad in the end. Drowning in glitter isn't such a bad way to spend an evening.