The girls started a new year of extracurricular activities tonight. Casey is taking ballet and tap and Chan is beginning her first year of piano.
I take the girls to North Georgia Dance and Music Factory. It is a marvelous place with insanely talented dancers and musicians. They even have two locations and have taught thousands of kids. But to me, it is another place where I am reminded of my childhood and days gone by. It is a place where I feel at home.
See, my childhood friend, Kellee and her group of college peeps - Steve and Allison - started the studio together, eleven years ago. Kellee...who I had sleepovers with and introduced me to Violent Femmes, celebrated holidays together and went on family vacations together, whose mother hosted my bridal brunch...owns the studio that my daughters are now students at.
Last year, I couldn't stop the tears and wept (like a fool) watching through the small window as Casey hung on Kellee's every word and movement of the first day of dance class. I remembered Kellee and I having fashion shows (complete with tight rolled pants) and curling our hair together. And there she was teaching my daughter how to be a graceful, elegant dancer. The tears rolled down my face and my chin quivered.
This year I thought I was better prepared (and Kellee isn't her teacher this year), but I was wrong. They started class in the back studio which was perfect because Chan was right around the corner from it in a music room. I could watch Casey and hear Chan.
Chandler is being taught by Allison. Kellee began bringing Allison home from college on breaks when I was still in high school and we would all hang out together. I don't remember meeting her, it was one of those situations where we were just suddenly friends and knew each other. Allison and I used to operate a two person book club together a few years ago and it was wonderful.
So, there I was, sitting on the bench, watching Casey do her barre exercises and listening to Allison cheer Chandler on as she slowly picked out one note and then another. And I felt my chin start to quiver. Casey, in her black leotard, stretching and bending and I remembered the countless evenings that I spent going through warm ups at the barre...how beautiful I felt...tall and thin and graceful. And now I sat there watching my daughter and I could tell that she had the same sense of pride as a dancer as I did when I danced.
In the middle of these thoughts, I would hear Allison's voice again and Chan laughing and I thought of all of the memories I have of Allison and how we just always pick up wherever we left off. And she loves my daughters and I know that she is going to take care of Chan and encourage her and praise her and push her to be her best.
I felt lucky. Blessed. Perhaps slightly hormonal. And definitely ridiculous. I have never cried on the first day of school, but apparently, now that it has happened two years in a row, I cry on the first day of dance and music. This is the kind of mom I am.