My daughter went to a jazz ballet class today. She's never been before, but her friend goes to this class, and Laura wanted to try it out. I sat in the foyer, spying on these miniature dancers, as they hopped and stumbled and skipped around the room. It was amazing to see that these little girls are showing already who they will be when they grow up.
One little blond looked haughty and ambitious, at the tender age of 6 or 7. She held her chin in the air, she spoke only to one or two others, and she her face was china-doll beautiful. This girl is bound to be a school prefect, and she'll probably be the Queen Bee in the 'in' group of girls. Of course, I could just have a wildly overactive imagination.
One little girl was unlikely to be the Queen Bee at school. She clumped when the others tippy-toed. She landed with a thud when the others sprang lightly. Her timing was all wrong, and her movements were awkward. She yawned and looked over at me with huge, limpid brown eyes. This doe-eyed child had thicker limbs than all the other girls, and her body was stocky. She will probably never be skinny; she may never be graceful. Her eyes were arresting. I hope someone tells her she is lovely, often.
I remember being a little girl, and I don't think I have changed much since then, in essence. At the dance class, I would have been scared, without visibly quailing. I would have been frightened of any criticism from the teacher, trying my hardest to get the moves right. If another girl had been dismissive, or mean, I would have chewed my lip, hard, trying to quell the tears. In time, I would have started to chat, getting more & more animated if anyone responded. I would have been just like the little girl yesterday with a fraying ponytail of mousy-brown hair - not outstanding, and just a little more fearful than the rest.
Yesterday, watching my daughter, I was glad for her. Because, like I would have done, she was concentrating hard, focusing on the dance steps. But between dancing, she never so much as looked like chewing her lip. She smiled, she twirled, she giggled with some of the others. Her confidence was a joy to behold. As she stepped in time to the music, and flicked her little hips side-to-side like she'd been born to wiggle (1-2, 1-2-3!), I felt my heart grow huge with pride. What a wondrous creature my daughter is! She is like me in some ways, but in many ways she is un-like me. And I couldn't be happier to know this.