Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


The Good Enough Mother and Her Perfect Ballerina

Just before Christmas, our four-year-old daughter donned a green sequin costume with the rest of her ballet class and performed a dance routine for a packed auditorium of proud, swooning parents.

The day before we had rushed in late to the dress rehearsal from an afternoon of last-minute shopping, having forgotten Sam’s costume. When we arrived, all the green-sequined ballerinas in their pink canvas slippers were on stage as this flustered mother hustled Sam up the stairs, planting purple-corduroyed Sam in her hot pink Nikes among her fellow dancers.

So sorry and better late and without a costume than never and an understanding yes of course! followed in the ensuing exchange with Sam’s teachers, with me scrambling off stage as quickly as I had come, seeking to make the least disruption in the frenzied choreographic preparations now underway.

But by this time the damage had been done and I knew it: first, a trembling lip, then a whimper and finally a full-blown cry let loose from the girl in the purple corduroys. In no time a teacher had scooped her up, attempting dubious reassurances. It’s okay, Sam. I’m not in costume either, see?

There and then my daughter’s future flashed before my eyes: somewhere in her trove of memories to be exhausted on a couch with a shrink would be this moment, when her mother made her dance to a schmaltzy version of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” as the only little girl in purple corduroys and hot pink Nikes.

So there and then I prayed for Sam and for me: Help, God. Please.

Sure enough, Sam made it through. And the next day, as she and twenty other little girls pranced and plied across a stage in the glare of the spotlight, there she was again–the outlier. This time the matching leotard and green sequins couldn’t disguise a little girl who had once again (this time unknowingly) broken rank. Off to the far right of center stage and twenty other dancers, but performing the same motions as the rest of the bunch, was a little girl oblivious to her solo act and a mother’s proud, affectionate giggles.

 

 



Previous Posts

Writing Sabbatical—and "The Departure of the Prodigal Son"
I'm sorry: my absenteeism at this intersection can be attributed to a number of things lately, the most pressing of which is my forthcoming book with author and Christian addiction specialist Jonathan Benz. The book (Prodigal Church or a version of it) is now officially under deadline and by April 1

posted 10:55:10am Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Restless Soul Hall of Fame: Sister Corita Kent
Since NPR's recent segment, Sister Corita Kent has come to mind a few times this week as someone who d

posted 10:23:30am Jan. 16, 2015 | read full post »

"I Am Charlie Hebdo"
I struggle to know how to greet you after such a long hiatus from posting here—and in light of how much has happened in the world since Christmas

posted 4:42:48pm Jan. 12, 2015 | read full post »

A Christmas Homily
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. —Luke 2:6,7 The sheer physicality of this picture strikes me this Christmas. The ba

posted 1:54:50pm Dec. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Mental Health Break—Sprawl II
My favorite band these days is Arcade Fire, and I've featured the Canadian indie rock group before at this intersection between God and life. The lead singer studied Kirkegaard in college and their songs, like this one, are often subtle but brilliant critiques of the least aesthetically pleasing thi

posted 12:58:15pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.