My career as an indentured servant, wait, I mean dance mom, is about to come to an end. I have one more obligation, my daughter’s dance studio’s costume sale, before I can officially retire. And while I’m looking forward to the many, many hours of free time this will bring to my life, I’m also a tad sad.It’s not that I’ll miss seeing my daughter dance because she's continuing her passion for the art form in college. It’s that I’ll miss my fellow dance moms.
I like to think of us as Wonder Women (except with more bling and our super power is E6000 adhesive). I know all parents bond over their children’s shared extracurricular activities, but I feel dance moms have a relationship that transcends the typical parent/child sports alliance.
Due to the frequent costume quick changes and the costumes themselves, we're always together with our children, shoved in dressing rooms, usually with iffy climate control, getting them in and out of their outfits, changing shoes, hair, tights and accessories with the speed of Zeus all while managing the many mercurial moods of a dancer.
It’s a task so daunting that it’s like Navy Seal training for moms. Once you’ve survived it you feel fairly confident that you can handle almost anything. The whole ordeal (sorry, I meant meaningful experience) is also as effective as the aforementioned E6000 glue in cementing friendships.
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This year my daughter was in 17 dances, which means 17 costumes and their accessories. In all she had 68 different costume components. It’s a miracle we had never forgotten anything — until her very last dance competition in Virginia Beach.
Less than two hours before a dance I discovered that we didn’t have a mask for a costume. Cue the panic because this mask was a phantom of the opera-esque and was covered, of course, in lace embellishments and rhinestones. It’s not like you could just create another one. Or could you?
When I announced/screamed to my daughter that we had no mask, instead of panicking she instructed me to go to a Joann Fabrics store and try to find parts to craft a new one. “Is there even one in Virginia Beach?” I asked incredulously. And indeed, there was. She had spotted one by a Chipotle two days ago and even knew the exit.
I hauled out of the hotel room and raced to the fabric store where I grabbed masks, (no opera mask sadly, but I thought we could cobble something together) glue, scissors and lace that was nowhere close to what was on the mask, but hope springs eternal.
When I met up with my daughter at the competition venue she had called a dance mom SOS. One mom just happened to have an opera mask on her because who doesn’t carry around extra opera masks?
I was stress sweating buckets and ready to admit defeat (a dance mom no-no) because we still needed to take that blank mask and try to make it look like the others in what was now a matter of minutes when guardian angel Michelle Sperling swooped in.
This woman reached into her dance bag and removed basically an entire craft store. In no time at all she re-created the mask using bits and pieces of “this and that” all while calming me down with soothing tones of “Don’t worry. It will all be fine.”
And it was. She had done the impossible and made a brand-new mask that looked close enough to the ones the other girls would be wearing in the dance. I hugged her and told her she was a miracle worker. She shook her head and said, “Nope, just a dance mom.”