Last night was one of my lowest parenting moments. On the bright side of things, I can’t remember the last time I felt so devastatingly horrible, so that is encouraging.
It was stage rehearsal for Arrine. One of the information sheets I received from her teachers said that it was regular dance attire; so no costumes. Since I didn’t get any information from her other teacher, nor did the email from the studio specifically say that costumes were required, I assumed that was the case for all her classes. I assumed wrong.
When we showed up at the theatre and I saw some girls in their costumes, I first tried to tell myself, “Ok, maybe just the older girls are supposed to have them. Or specific dances.” But it was soon obvious that every single other dancer had their costumes on. Arrine was able to do her first dance, because there was one other girl who also didn’t have her costume. But while waiting for her next number, Arrine realized that she was the only one without her costume. And that’s when the tears began. Even with me explaining to her the situation, to an almost 6 year old, the only thing that would fix her sadness, was her costumes. I thought of who I could call to bring them to me, but there was no one. And even if there was, I also tried to tell myself, “This is a good lesson for her. To carry through even though things aren’t going your way.”
I couldn’t even get her to stop crying. Backstage she was hyperventilating and telling me she was too scared to go on without her costume, because everyone would see her without it. Two of her other teachers tried to help settle her down and tell her it was ok and offered to go on stage with her. But she wouldn’t accept their offers. The studio owner suggested I try to go on with her, which I did, that also didn’t help. By this time, I was crying too. From guilt, from my heart breaking for her. For knowing I was the cause of her sadness and her not being able to dance, when she before she was so excited to get on stage.
Some encouraging words from others were, “It’s ok that you forgot your costume, that happens to lots of dancers.” And on the inside I was screaming, “I DIDN’T FORGET. I WAS TOLD WE DIDN’T NEED THEM!” But at the same time, I feel like I should have questioned that, and known better.
We didn’t even stay for her third dance. We just packed up our things and left. She settled down about halfway home. Although I know I was crying harder than her at this point. I told her we could choose a special day to wear them at home and she replied, “But my teachers told me I can’t wear them at home.” And that made me feel even worse; this little child, adhering to her teacher’s instructions, even though she longed to wear her costumes.
Bedtime was our priority. We had a bath and I told her I would go to bed when she did. And I did. I did not want to be awake for any more of that day.
There were so many thoughts and worries I had last night, and still do. It bothered me that Arrine is such an amazing kid and so well behaved, but in this instance, an entire theatre saw her at her lowest, and not knowing the details behind it, would have made their own conclusions or judgments. I worried this would be a moment that affected her current love of dance. On our way to the theatre, I asked her if she would be interested in doing a solo next year, and she said she was. I haven’t brought it up since this costume incident, but I worry that it will affect her going forward. I wonder if this will be one of her childhood memories, and desperately hope it isn’t.
When we talked about it during the bath, she admitted she was a teeny bit upset with me, but still loved me and forgave me. And we talked about how tomorrow would be a new day, and we could start it being excited for our next dance classes, next Monday.
It’s moments like these when I feel the loneliest. Arrine’s dad is an amazing dad and co-parent, but it’s not his roll anymore to support me emotionally in times like these. I would have loved to have had someone to first call on to bring me those darn costumes, but also, to just have someone I could share this all with once I got home, and just been given some words of encouragement. Or even just a hug. A hug would have done a lot last night. I also miss my mom more too. I would have loved to have been able to call her. And ask about times she felt she had messed up. And heard her share some insight and experience with me. Oh, how I long for that…
However, I did get some lovely support from Anne Marie, who is a dance friend and teacher at the studio. She texted me later to ask how Arrine was doing, and that meant so much to me. And I sent a text to Arrine’s former teacher, Shannon, who helped backstage. I am grateful for having such kind people in my life, and Arrine’s.
I am still very emotional about this, and weepy while I write this. Anne Marie reminded me there will be many more of these low parenting moments, but we can’t be so hard on ourselves. And not be bothered with what others are thinking, as it is on them for judging if they are. I know it was an honest mistake. I know I didn’t mean for this to happen. I know it’s not Arrine’s fault for her behaviour last night. But still knowing all of that, seeing your child so sad and upset because of something you did, is one of the worst feelings in the world.
Last night was not good. It was horrendous. Today is a new day. But it’s hard to leave yesterday behind…