Before performing in front of everyone as a kid I was always tense, nervous to the point of exhaustion as I racked my brain to remember all the steps. I was that kind of kid that had to hit every count perfectly. Be exactly where I was supposed to be. I wonder if I ever enjoyed it. Dancing that is, if you want to call it that. More like going through the motions if you ask me. I didn’t want to do it wrong.
My daughter, however, was calm and playful before the recital. She and the other dancers ran around laughing and giggling before the teacher arrived like there wasn’t a room full of parents (and some grandparents) staring at them. I studied Hope as she twirled, little pink ballet skirt flying in the air. Tiny ponytails just visible as she turned toward me beaming with pride. I loved it. Savored every moment as if they were given to me as a gift. These little ones, serious about performing their routine, but having a ball along the way.
Being on the other side of the stage taught me something extremely special. No two children danced the same way. Some were more stiff and precise. Some fluid and light. All of them moved through each piece without embarrassment or hesitation. They just danced.
I stopped clapping to dab the corner of my eye. Joy. I was filled with the most blissful joy than I had felt in a very long time. Happiness for the moment that was so beautiful. Admiration for my daughter’s persistence in learning something new. Gratitude that a child who was born into the wrong body could still follow their dreams and live fully, achieving every goal in their heart.