Dear Ru and Mary,
We hesitated, at least momentarily, to take you to a ballet. Somehow we knew it would mean endless twirling around the house and the necessary creation of tutus. And of course, I recalled my childhood fascination with ballet and my fruitless attempt at taking lessons (your mother isn’t coordinated—one week at ballet lessons proved that!).
But we couldn’t resist taking you. Ballerinas are too much like princesses. We knew you’d love it. (Especially with the Princess Gigi movies you’ve been watching lately!)
And so, off we went, all five of us. We found seats up high, in the back, worried about your brother making noise.
But we needn’t have worried. The moment the ballerinas started twirling in and out of the stage curtains, you were all three mesmerized.
I’m not sure your eyes left the stage for the entire performance, Ruth. You hardly moved a muscle, except to chew on your fingernails in your intense focus.
Mary Kate, when I took you to the restroom at intermission, you informed me, “I want to be a princess and hide.” You thought they were hiding when they danced off the edge of the stage into the curtains. “I want them to come again and hide!” we heard between every score.
Daniel thought the lights were fascinating. But he did finally get tired of eating the program and staring at the cowboy hat of the man sitting behind us. So I bounced him in the Ergo, on the stairs.
And soon, you came to join us, Mary. You couldn’t sit still any longer. You just had to dance and twirl like the pretty ballerinas. I was afraid you’d go tumbling down the stairs, dizzy from your dancing. The expression on your face was priceless. You thought you were the most beautiful ballerina in the room. (And of course, you were.)
We started warning you when the program was almost over, afraid you’d be heartbroken for the beauty to end so soon. Sure enough, there were tears before we were out of the building. You’d had so much fun, but you were exhausted. Your brother just stared at you when we got home. You kept crying, but you didn’t know why—and neither did he! Mommy understood, though.
To you, it was like watching a fairytale. It was beautiful and lighthearted and easy dancing. You couldn’t see the hours of exercise and training and sweat and tears that had gone into making those girls ballerinas. You didn’t know the stories of tired toes and sore feet behind those dancing shoes we showed you on the table as we went out. You only knew that it was beautiful—and that it was over. You were crying for the sheer beauty of it.
There hasn’t been quite as much dancing and twirling as I expected there to be in this house the week after attending a ballet. You talk about it, yes—but more as if it was a beautiful dream. You know the story of Cinderella—you can “be” her more easily. But the beautiful twirling ballerinas? They are beautiful and lovely and mysterious. And like a visit to a far away and beautiful land, you want to “go to a ballet again some time,” Mary Kate.
Meanwhile, you wear your longer shirts with ruffles on the bottom, Ruth—tutu like. And our Cinderella does more dancing and twirling than she did heretofore. In shoes that make too much noise on the kitchen floor when brother is sleeping—bringing us all back to the real life that must come whence the clock strikes midnight after the ball!
I love you, my little princess ballerinas. And I pray daily for grace and wisdom to teach you to be true ladies, true princesses, even more beautiful and good than the ballerinas of your fancies and dreams.