As I comb your hair and tie it up in a bun, your sweet little voice reminds me that your teacher wants everyone to use hairspray. I smile knowing you only say that because you have never used hairspray.

Then we go into the bathroom to put on your makeup. I sit you up on the sink, and you giggle when the blush brush tickles your cheeks. You blink with each stroke of the mascara wand, and much to Daddy´s horror your pouty little lips become impressively grown up with the addition of pinkish red lipstick.

What a beautiful young lady you are becoming.

`Are you okay Mommy?´, you ask.`Yes Sweetie, Mommy is simply happy.´ Then I tell Daddy to stop complaining about the make-up. It is REQUIRED for stage, and we need some privacy.

He wisely exits the bathroom.

I help you slip into your dusty rose tights, matching leotard, and tutu, while using extra caution not to get makeup on your costume.

I send you to get your ballet bag and ask you to double-check that it contains both shoes. While you are in your room, Dad asks if he really needs to go?  I shot him a look that said go directly to Hell, and in that moment, I meant it.

Thats when our pretty little dancer came bouncing down the stairs with her bag announcing, `Daddy, I can´t wait to dance for you.´

I turn to get my purse so no one can see how emotional I am. Maybe I am premenstrual, or maybe it is the fifteen years I danced that has me falling apart. Whatever it is, I will be fine once we get outside in the fresh air.

We sit in the pitch dark audience awaiting the opening performance,when finally the curtains are drawn. The older girls, that have made Dance Company, are dramatically posed on chairs. The music starts and they proceed to razzle dazzle us with an expressive rendition of a showgirl act.

And I was there! I could see stars in their eyes as their well-trained bodies leaped, lunged, and kicked with all their talent and sex appeal. Oh to be young and dancing on stage again! Damn those height restrictions for the Radio City Music Hall Rockett tryouts!

Then, reality check, as the big girls strut off stage, our pretty little dancer tip-toes front and center with the rest of her second year ballet class. She stands in first position and I can tell she is scanning the audience to find us. Her music begins and she has the biggest toothless smile onstage. Her grin is infectious and the audience chuckles over the sheer cuteness of their arabesque attempts.  They skip, pretend to play hopscotch, flutter like butterflies, and pirouette with no particular focal point.

Absolutely the cutest things ever, and I wish my mother was here.

Eliane, far left, Winter Recital 2009

Eliane, far left, Winter Recital 2009 (Note the precious little girl to Eliane´s right peeking through both wings)

After her show Eliane comes running out to us for hugs and words of approval.

I tell her how beautiful and graceful she danced. She proudly smiles and asks Daddy what he thinks. Daddy picks her up and spins around as he tells her he was honored to see her dance.

Eliane´s first Ballet Lesson 2009

Eliane backstage before Aristocats performance Spring 2010

Eliane, far left and toothless, Spring Recital 2011 (Picture courtesy of Gubrandsdølen Dagningen)