Tonight my daughter has a ballet recital. She's got a cute little costume and is meant to dance to a song from Beauty and the Beast. I am keeping my expectations low since my heart sank last year when all the little girls came out to dance to the number she was supposed to be in, but instead she melted down backstage. Never even made it onto the stage. I stood up, ran out of the auditorium and to my girl. Still, I saw the look from the other parents. If you're a parent of a kid like mine, you know the look. It socks you in the stomach. Tonight I won't expect her to go on stage and perform, but I'll be very pleasantly surprised if that happens. The performance isn't why I paid the $100+ for the class or the $30 for the costume or the $17 for the shoes. I did that for the thrill she has after each dance class when she runs up to me and brags, "Mommy! I wore a tutu!" It's seriously cute stuff. I did it because she loves dance class and because she deserves a dance class.
And I did it because this is her chance to take a real dance class with her typically developing peers. This class is offered at her school with the full inclusion program. I don't know of any other place where she could take a dance class with "normal" kids. The private studios tell me that they can't provide support and it could be too distracting to the other kids. Tough stuff. But whether she dances tonight or not, I will know that she loved the class, loved the music and the girl can rock a tutu!
Stay tuned for the update on whether you-know-who made it on stage.
She did it. It was awesome. She came out with the other girls and I turned to my friend Staci and we both smiled as I said, "she came out!" She had a little help from Casey, her awesome advocate/shadow and she followed along with the other little girls. When it was over, I exhaled and tears streamed down my face. I went backstage and found a few other people in tears as well. It's pretty awesome to be surrounded by people who love my girl!!