Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Choosing the better part

Fly and I stepped into the studio. There was a small entrance with a chair, a water cooler, a couple posters on the walls. Beyond a decorative black accordion screen were the gleaming wood floor, the wall of mirrors and the barres.

He let go of my hand in excitement. Or maybe I let go of his. I hadn't entered a dance studio in 24 years. My senses were overwhelmed with memories of songs played over and over on a turntable, of my hair pulled back too tightly by my stepmother, of bodies lined up behind the teacher to mimic her movements and make them their own until every muscle automatically did what it was supposed to do without the dancer having to think. For nearly every Wednesday and Saturday for nine years, this was my life.

And here I was again, this time with my own little dancer. It was just a free introductory course for toddlers to learn rhythm and get a chance to burn off some energy. But I was sure Fly -- who is in nearly constant motion, who just taught himself to do a somersault, who can now hang from the playground bars by his hands, who always seems to be asking for a song -- would love it.

He didn't.

Fly was more interested in playing the drums in the corner. He didn't want to jump across the floor with me (unless I was holding him), didn't want to sit in a circle, didn't feel like doing the contract-and-release exercise (teacher: "Open your arms like a flower, yes?").

It was a bit of a letdown.

During a short break when the teacher was changing the music, I suddenly realized a sustained note under the music was actually one of the children crying. I looked around and didn't see Fly. I followed the sound of the crying back to the entrance, where a little girl was spread-eagled against the glass door, perhaps wanting to leave, while her mother sat next to her in consolation. And Fly stood right next to the girl with his eyes wide and serious, looking at her intently.

I realized then even though Fly might not like dancing as much as I do, I did get one wish -- and that was for a child with a kind and generous heart. A compassionate boy. A son who is concerned about other people.

And that definitely trumps dancing and everything else.

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Blogger Awesome Mom said...

It sure does!

4:21 PM  
Blogger Madeline said...

Aww...you do have a sweet one. I've heard compassion in such a little one is also a sign of intelligence.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

So true. What a gem you have in Fly.

I've also found that two-year-olds aren't so much fond of instructor-led group activities. Isabella is in a music class, and she'd much rather be banging on the instruments (only brought out at the END of class, for some reason) then sitting in a circle doing the hand motions to Itsy Bitsy Spider.

6:33 PM  
Blogger amanda said...

you are so right. it totally one hundred times over trumps dancing.

8:09 PM  
Blogger CaraBee said...

Well said. I think about this a lot in the raising of my daughter. Good job, Mom!

8:35 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

My son still has trouble following directions in group activities like that.

Fly may still like dance when he's a little older. Try again later!

9:04 PM  
Blogger Lissete said...

I agree 100%!

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How sweet! Becca starts "pre-ballet" this weekend ... we are off today to find some slippers! Kids are so cute at this age!

6:11 AM  
Blogger Stephanie Wilson she/her @babysteph said...

Oh my gosh- he is precious. And you know what a heartbreaker drummers are- he might have a good idea there!


7:41 AM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

You know, Miss Peach didn't go for dance class either. Try tumbling...that worked wonders with her:) Go Fly go!

8:25 AM  
Blogger Maternal Mirth said...

I think that heart will take him farther in life than any other ability. Such a sweet boy!

10:28 AM  
Blogger Zip n Tizzy said...

What a sweet fly guy!
And maybe drumming's his thing... get out the egg carts to start lining your walls!

11:35 PM  

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