Saturday was Joy’s first ballet recital. She started taking lessons in November, and they quickly became the highlight of her weeks.
“I love to watch her smile when she dances,” her teacher has told me after lessons sometimes. “You just can’t teach that.” After the recital, she said it again: “Even on stage, she didn’t look at all nervous, she just beamed. You can tell she loves it. It makes me so happy to see it.” Other people, too, commented on how much she glows when she dances.
I asked her, as I parked the car at the school before the recital, and it was just the two of us, if she was nervous. She looked at me as though I were a little strange. “No,” she said, it apparently being the most obvious thing in the world.
She had so much poise in the dance itself, and even afterward, despite the crowds and the noise and the newness of it all. She posed for picture after picture with the family, with her friends, alone. She never stopped smiling. When I think of how far she has come from the little girl who was crippled by new situations, by loudness, by crowds of people, by fear, it makes me want to weep with thankfulness and delight. She’s a different kid than she was even a year ago. She’s still unique, still Joy, but so much of a healthier, happier Joy than she used to be. I am so glad to see it, so privileged to be her Mom.
She’s looking forward to a summer of fun at the beach and park, but she’s also already counting down the days until ballet starts up again in September.