Snowflake, be still my beating heart. Saturday, the day we’d been waiting for for the past 3 years finally happened.Ella started ballet when she was 3 and since then has been longing, planning for the day when she would be in our city’s ballet production of the Nutcracker. I remember the first days of taking her to ballet class, she was so nervous and uncoordinated. She was practically a baby in her pink tights, leotard and ballet slippers. She was so small, it was difficult to even find shoes that fit her appropriately. But like all things she sets her mind to, Ella achieves what she desires. She doesn’t really understand limitations. I like it that way. I hope she never loses that. Saturday was one of the destinations that this journey has been headed towards. Saturday was the first time she was old enough to audition. We woke up Saturday morning. I was nauseated from nerves. Ella was excited. As I put on her tights and leotard, I could feel the stress building inside me. While pulling her hair back into her ballerina knot, I was almost brought to tears by the thought of what if she isn’t chosen. She has been looking forward to this day for over half of her short life. As she pulled on her rain boots, I realized this was one of those defining moments in her life. This was the day she either became a performing ballerina or the first day she experienced rejection.Either way, I was nervous for her.
We walk in to the dance theater and register. The place is packed full of a range of ballerinas. I immediately start sizing my girl up to every other ballerina in sight. After getting her into her slippers, her father and I offer some words of encouragement. At this point, I am pretty much vomiting a little bit in my mouth. Ella is unphased. She just wants to get on with it and get her part. Her confidence is inspirational.
She locates a couple of competition her friends from class. They squeal at the sight of one another. All of us Moms breathe a sigh of relief that we are not sending our girls to the wolves alone. Then it happens. They call for the 5-7 age group. With a kiss for good luck and a smile, we send our girl off to her fate. I say a little prayer. We are all praying our little 5 year olds get to be mice ( standard part for that age group) in the Nutcracker.
Time passed s-l-o-w-l-y. I watch her ascend the stairs, my little girl, and I realize this is just one more of those firsts in life that I can not do for her. She is excited and a little nervous, but mostly excited. I am a half a breath away from falling to the ground and assuming the fetal position.
We wait for her to return. And wait. And wait some more. A half hour later, part of the group ascends the stairs. I hold my breath and wait for Ella to appear. One of her classmates comes down, her mother is standing, waiting with me. She is carrying a letter. She has the part! She is a MOUSE! Hurrah!
Uh oh! The mice have been cast. Where is my Ella? Oh, no my worst fears are coming true. She is not a mouse. All I could think was, she will be heart broken. Pull it together Debi. You have to be strong for your girl. I was going over all my pep talks in my head. “It’s OK, next year we can try again”, ” You are a great dancer, there were a lot of little girls trying out and everyone deserves a chance”, “Mommy loves you, these people are stupid (LOL,I’d never say that..well, probably not)”. I shot my husband an “Oh Shit” look. He gave me the “breathe woman” look, as usual. I congratulated the other little girl. She was so proud.
Then ,15 minutes later, another group is released. I see Ella. She is holding an envelope. All I could think of was “how the hell am I going to explain why she’s not a mouse”. She walked over to me all smiles ( poor unsuspecting fool). I asked her how the audition went. She thought it went fabulous. She used to be taught by the director ( who was actually at audition selection) and she was just so exited to see Ms.Prima Ballerina. It’s really all that she cared about. Then I took the envelope out of her hands, I braced myself, and I opened it.Deep breath!
She wasn’t a mouse. She was a SNOWFLAKE! It’s a bigger, more advanced part and she gets to wear a white tutu , with a tiara and dance as snow falls onto stage. She was happy. Her Daddy and sister were proud and happy for her. I was relieved and so full of pride of my little girl that I thought I might bust at the seams. I texted every family member we have, on both sides, and told them to pencil in the weekend of December 10-12 to come and see our Ella in her stage debut as a snowflake. Her first performance as a ballerina will be attended by every family member who can make it. There will be a showering of flowers and love on our little girl at a diner in her honor. It will be a night she will not forget. And to think,
Ella, you are always Mommy’s Prima Bellarini. I am so proud of you. You will not be capable of understanding this feeling that I have until you have your own child. It is more than any pride than I have ever felt in myself. I love you! 9/11/10 First Audition date ever. We have our very own Snowflake this holiday season.