With less than 36 hours before my mat leave ends and I return to work, and to an entirely new job at that, it’s been absolutely hectic around here.
The Doodle has started daycare transition and has completed her first two weeks with pretty good success. We’re about to embark upon a long overdue bathroom reno. Bella and I have new glasses, seasonal car tires changed and one car cleaned, spring cleaning of the yard and the house, shopping for some new work clothes, and so on. This is just some of the items on this huge list of chores I’d like to have wrapped up before I have to figure out again how to still manage all that goes with running a household and a job that takes 40 or so hours a week.
I finished the Doodle’s month by month project and her one year video (this password protected post will follow) and there’s no way I’ll finish this photo album or complete her baby book by the end of the day tomorrow. But I’m going to make peace with that as it will all get done at some point in time in the future.
But this post is really all about my eldest daughter who has courage that I admire.
Bella loves to dance. She loves music and she loves to move. We’ve asked repeatedly if she’d like to have dance lessons at some point in time, but she insists that freestyle is where it’s at and that’s where she wants to be. So she grooves to her own beat and it’s quite good. Bella actually won the “So You Think You Can Dance” competition at camp last summer.
As she entered high school, I was so excited about all of the dances she was going to get to attend. I was also a little nervous for her, because when I recalled my high school dances, they often involved drinking. Lots and lots of alcohol. But Bella is pretty straight-laced in that respect and is adamant that she won’t smoke or drink. She’s finally okay with sipping a little glass of proseco at special family occasions.
The first dance Bella was to attend in grade 9 was a Halloween dance. Only the dance got cancelled a few days before the event. There hasn’t been a single dance scheduled again. Not one high school dance in a year and half.
When Bella told us about the city-wide rainbow spring fling last year, we couldn’t not let her go. She did miss all of the references to the fact that this was a queer dance, but that didn’t change her mind. She defines her orientation as flexible. Or undecided. And as a kid with two moms, we feel that she should have a place in the queer community.
Last year the dance was scheduled to take place on the Doodle’s due date. The Doodle arrived a week early, and with a newborn in the house, we somehow managed to make it all work. Bella got dressed with friends, the school gave them taxi chits to get to the dance, and Otto went to drive them home. Not one of the other parents offered to drive. We had just had a baby. It was exhausting and we had to push ourselves, but it was so important for us not to take something away from Bella just because she now had a baby sister.
Since it’s a city-wide dance for students, it takes place at a school that is a 20-25 minute drive away from our house (and about 15 minutes or so of that is on a highway!) The location is very inconvenient and there’s no way we’d let her take the bus home at that time of night.
This year, Bella excitedly told us all about the spring fling again. And again it couldn’t have been scheduled to take place on a worse date. Otto was out of town and I was scheduled for solo parenting.
I tried to encourage Bella to ask her friends if another parent could at least drive one way. I could drive them there if I had to, but I’m totally exhausted and didn’t relish waking the baby up to get her into her car seat at 11pm on top of having to spend an hour driving around the city. The thought of having to do this for my teenager made me exceptionally crabby, but she asks for so little that we really want to come through when we can.
As the date of the dance came near, it became clear to me that no other parents were going to step up to the plate to drive. This is because there were no other parents. Not one of Bella’s friends were going to the dance. She’d asked them, they weren’t interested, and she decided she was going to go alone.
My sixteen year old daughter was planning to go to a dance with hundreds of other kids, where she didn’t know a single person, all on her lonesome. She didn’t flinch or blink. She wasn’t nervous or scared. It was just this thing she was going to do because she really wanted to dance.
Guts. Courage. Confidence. How awesome is that?
I couldn’t have done that when I was her age. Heck, I wouldn’t go to a dance or a bar where I knew no one at my age and I’m twice as old as my eldest daughter.
She went last night and had an incredible time. She was glowing and radiant about the dance. She spent the whole drive home talking my ear off about the music, her dance moves and the battle she engaged in.
It turns out that she did know one person there. It was her ex-boifriend.
She also met someone new and left with his phone number. It was a boy. My daughter picked up a boy at the queer dance.