Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dance ~ The Great Temptation

A few days ago I read my cousin's blog in which she reminisced about her desire to dance ballet since childhood.  I began to think back on my own life and how at an early age I had that same dream.  I felt such a strong connection to ballet even though I was only a tot and knew little to nothing about other forms of dance or ballet for that matter.

At about eight years of age, my mother shared with me how a family friend made it a habit to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up because he got a kick out of hearing me say I wanted to be a "belly dancer".  Of course I meant ballet, but being as young as I was, it was all the same to me.

Mom being quite shy had yet to share with me her strong love for dance.   In fact the only reason I had any inkling at all that she loved dancing is that during our family parties, which in those days were almost every weekend, she would jump at the opportunity to dance with anyone who would ask.  Dad preferred talking.  Anyone who danced with him could attest to the fact because when he did dance, he talked the entire time and only stopped when he stepped on your toes which was almost every dance.

You can imagine the excitement I felt one day when I stumbled across this photo in mom's old album.  I wanted all the details of the picture and clung to every word as she told me about her dance classes and how much she loved dancing.  I would stare at her feet, in the picture, with amazement that my mommy could stand on her toes and wondered what it must be like to slip your foot into one of those shoes.

Mom had carefully saved and hung the little dance outfit in the front closet in hopes of keeping it for memories sake.  It was light blue with dark blue trim and the material was a thick cotten.

Although mom's intention was to save the dress, I had other plans and one day snuck into the closet, reached way up, manged to pull the dress off the hanger and with great difficulty slipped it on.  Even though it was far too big for me I couldn't bring myself to take it off.  I fell in love with it and the thought that it would make me dance.

When mom found that I had taken it out and was wearing it, even though she probably wanted to strangle me, she tried her best to explain that it was something to be saved, not worn, to remember the time when she danced.  I begged and begged but in the end, back in the closet it went.

Days later with no one around, I managed to sneak back into the closet and slip the dress on again.  I recall being scared to death that my mother would catch me but could not fight the temptation to wear it.

Somehow I slipped out the back door and over to the neighbors yard where I wore the dress for quite some time before mom found me out.  To this day, I'm not sure if it was her weakness or my stubborn desire that allowed me to begin taking the dress out for a fling on a daily basis until it was all but ruined.  At the time there was no guilt involved in my wearing the dress but after some time the material started to fray and as it became dirty and stained I could see the disapointment in my mothers eyes but by that time it was too late.  I'd ruined her dress.

Years later as she and I were looking for something in her cedar chest she took out a bag and unwrapped the most ugly, used, beautiful toe shoes I had ever laid my eyes on.  Luckily for mom I'd learned my lesson years before with the blue dress and kept my hands off the shoes unless she was around to supervise.

My daughter who is running slightly behind in ballet, due to my difficulty in paying for dance class, often takes the shoes out of their plastic bag and slips her foot in "just to see what it feels like".  Fortunately her foot is a bit bigger than the shoes and I'm not nearly as nice as my mom was when it comes to laying down the law in what we can and cannot do.

Earlier today I had the urge to look at mom's shoes.  I pulled them out of the plastic bag they've been in for so many years and gave them a good inspection.  There on the side of one of the shoes I spied, for the very first time, her name hand printed right on the silk (on the top shoe, near the arch, printed in faded letters it says "Thelma"). 

I wonder did she write that as a child so as not to confuse her shoes for someone elses or is it possible she wrote it there when I was a young girl to remind me just who those shoes belonged to.

1 comment:

Bunny Missbrenner said...

What a sweet story. It's nice to have something like that to cherish and something your kids can actually hold onto.