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Dancing with poodles

Published on: December 30, 2013

She was, of course, the most adorable of ballerinas, as 3-year-old ballerinas go. In her blue tutu and poddle cap (she was a French poodle…don’t ask), she charmed everyone in the high school auditorium last Sunday. Well, make that her parents, grandparents and great-grandmother.

Yes, I witnessed plenty of dance recitals in my earlier days as a mom. Ballet, tap, jazz…my daughter did them all. But did I really enjoy those recitals? I stressed over costumes, make-up, dress rehearsals, photo ops, time constraints, and of course whether my child - once on stage in front of the lights and the crowd and the camera-toting parents - would actually perform.

We’re not even talking here about the kind of anxiety a parent has over her child knowing what she’s supposed to know, such as the actual dance she’s spent the past six months mastering. That’s a whole separate level of anxiety.

The good news is all that stress and worry evaporates once you assume the grandparent role. It’s as if someone, unbeknownst to you, has injected you with a syringe filled with Valium or Botox, or whatever relaxes you these days. The point: You get to appear, find a seat (not even that, if you’re savvy enough to get your kids to save one for you), glance serenely at the program, smile cheerfully and wait for the lights to dim.

Watching the little one prance about on stage is pure delight; you now know that making those dance bloopers is actually pretty cute. And inconsequential, unless she’s auditioning for a role in a professional production of the Nutcracker.

After navigating at least two dozen dance recitals as a parent, don’t I deserve a little R&R as a spectator grandparent? I think so. And I’m lovin’ it.

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