Every Monday morning, I take Ella to ballet. At this stage in my life, the word ballet is synonymous with the word heaven, and so I guess you could say that every Monday morning I go to church and catch glimpses of God.
Ballet is my sacred time. It’s not time at all, actually, because it just hangs suspended above me for awhile while I forget about the rotting tomatoes in the bottom of our fridge, and that bill I still haven’t paid, and how tired I feel from being an adult all the time. At ballet, I stare at my daughter on her mat, learning and stretching and growing, and I feel utterly privileged that we are capable of giving her this life.
The light at ballet seems ethereal, like it comes from a different sun than the one I walked under to get there. As it bounces off my daughter’s face when she turns to grin at me every now and again, I feel the lump form in my throat which signals to me that the only way intense love can be handled is, often, to change it from inside to outside. So I let myself cry a little in the corner of the room, and I use the 30 minutes I get to sit there as a filter for the rest of my parenting life. So much of raising children rests upon the repetitive responsibilities we face – the monotonous and tedious tasks of domestic life. And yet, when they are contrasted with moments like the ones I feel in ballet, there is suddenly an acceptance for all the hard it took to get there. I no longer fight against my frustrations of life with children, feeling an irrational entitlement to the life I previously had.
It’s not that suddenly I’m okay with the sauce smears and the tantrums every time clothes need to be put on and the irrational conversations and the discarded apple cores all over the house. Those irritations of mine are still there. The difference is, they are placed on a spectrum. I accept that unpleasant things have to be there, because every beautiful and every hard thing in life is never just out there on its own. They’re made from the same stuff – beauty and hard are entwined, always. That’s the way life works, always and forevermore. And so it simmers down, my outrage at these petty little things I have to face day in day out, because by being their mother, I also get this.
Life is hard. Parenting is hard. But if I get the heaven I witness in ballet, I’ll take it all.
Friends, know the pictures I post are not my whole life. They are not the swear words I say under my breath. They are not the tense words I share with Joel. They are not the needy children hanging from me when I’m trying to cook dinner. But I’ll take all those things for these small ballet moments – the ones which allow me to rise above the rest and stare, marveling at the good I’m lucky to have.
Friday Photo Dump (@theredtent on Instagram if you want to follow the feed).
“Ten times a day something happens to me like this – some strengthening throb of amazement – some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.” ~ Mary Oliver