Today a new refrigerator was delivered to our house. Our old one came with the house when I bought it thirteen years ago, and it had done it’s time. We are all closer to 6 feet tall in this household than to the floor, and crouching down to find the vegetable drawer was taking its toll. The old fridge had begun to feel like the wardrobe in Narnia; so many things would disappear or spoil and we never seemed to find them in the back caverns of that old GE model.
Two days ago I began to remove all the photos, magnets, and clippings that were on on the old fridge when all of a sudden I was overcome by sadness at the passing of time. A magnet or a photo would remind me of a certain time in Ballet Boy’s childhood, and tears began to stream down my face as I thought about what the next few years might bring. Pretty soon I was sitting on the floor of my kitchen, having a complete meltdown.
None of this was rational. I am beyond happy to have a new fridge that is clean and bright in my kitchen with the freezer on the bottom and a water maker that actually produces water unlike the old one.
I’m also thrilled for what the future holds for Ballet Boy. He has been accepted into a six week program with the Houston Ballet on merit scholarship and will be leaving June 20. San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Harid Conservatory all gave him full tuition scholarships. Harid threw in room and board, too, and named him a finalist for the Marcelo Gomez scholarship that would pay for half of his expenses if he decided to attend year-round. We chose Houston because they have a company, a training company for younger dancers called Houston Ballet II, and dorms for some of the kids attending year-round. Ballet Boy will audition this summer to go away in the fall to dance intensively while finishing high school online.
This is why I was bawling my eyes out the other day. Many people have asked me if I’m ready to send Ballet Boy away. How can you be ready to send your 15 year old off to a private school? These are fragile years, where my son is beginning to express his own character more, sometimes by becoming very critical of his father and I, sometimes just by shining. Although the criticism and negativity can be hard to stomach, it is necessary for him to mature and become autonomous. The shining, well, I still want to be a part of that.
This weekend he had his final dance recital with his dance school, the Nolte Academy. They always include a daughter-daddy dance, which he talked me into doing last year. I accepted more public humiliation this year. I mean, it’s kind of cute or funny to watch middle aged men dance with their daughters, but I just feel awkward as a woman. I fully admit to watching everyone else and being about a beat behind on all of the steps. The dads in my son’s age group all wore goofy wigs and even pink leopard mini skirts for some of the dances. I stuck to the black tie that they told us to wear, thinking I can’t really pull of the clown thing.
For the final dance, I turned around and was surprised to see Ballet Boy in a Beyonce-worthy outfit: black sheer leotard and tights. We couldn’t stop laughing the whole dance. He was able to shine, feeling safe enough in that environment and with me to express his love for Beyonce.
I tell myself that we will still have these moments when he is miles away. We can Skype, talk, text and I will visit as often as I can.
Ready or not, I will let him go. This kid is going to go far; Houston Ballet is the big time. After all the hard work and sweat he has put into dancing, I’m not going to let a little nostalgia hold him back. He has one more hoop to jump through to be accepted, and then if we can afford it, off he will go. In the meantime, there will be lots of hugs as I enjoy the next few weeks with him around the house a little more now that school is out.