Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Dream Deferred

My daughter is a first class bitch. Yeah, I said it. I wake up early on Saturday when I don't feel great and could use an extra hour of sleep. I step through a bedroom that I spent hours cleaning the other day, which is now a fucking disaster, to get to a dresser in order to pull out Liv's dance outfit. In route, I step on a fucking lego and if you ever did that you realize that the pain takes your literal breath away. I pick a thousand little red fuzzies off a pair of tights. I search high and low, over and under, blocks, shoes, Bratz dolls, crayons, markers, fritos, to find a missing tap shoe. I lovingly and sweetly dress my prima ballerina and put on her tutu. And right when we are ready to leave for her dance class she throws a holy fit and refuses to go.

She is lucky to be alive.

When I was a kid I used to dream about dance classes. My parents couldn't afford to send us to any special classes. I was to consider myself blessed for having a pizza on a Friday night. And a couple of new outfits from JC Penney for the new school year. Macy's? That's where rich people shopped. I wasn't allowed to play an instrument. I wasn't allowed to participate in extra-curricular activities, not because of money issues but because I wasn't allowed to associate with any kids that weren't of the same cult religion. I wasn't allowed to go to college after graduation because going to college meant that my faith was weak, that I valued "things of the world" over spiritual things. Because wanting to educate yourself and support yourself in a comfortable manner in the future is a characteristic of the devil's influence. I'm not kidding. My fucking life. My fucking lack of opportunity to discover who I really was, my gifts, my dreams, my truth.

I weep for that unlived life, that unfulfilled potential.

So when my daughter refuses to go to dance class it's so much bigger than her refusing to go to her dance class. I am trying desperately to give my girl everything in this life I never had. I am trying to give her the dream of a whole and fully lived life. I know I can never go back and relive those lost experiences. I can only go forward and hope that what I give my girl is enough to fill those gaping holes in my heart.


  1. My mom was the first person to leave their dairy farm and go to college. It was an amazing accomplishment for their entire family. All she wanted was for me to have the same and more, and would loose her mind when I didn't like some detail of her plan for me. I have ended up being the person in our family with the most advanced degree. Amazingly enough, I use most of what I learned in while getting those degrees to co-own and operate, yes, a farm! You never know.

  2. I really want to leave a comment, because I so enjoyed reading this!
    I think I remember cold Saturday mornings when I was cajoled into going to ballet. I hated it at the time, but now, 8ish years on, I am so completely glad I went. I love dancing so much.
    You're doing the right thing.

  3. The idea that education is a weakness blows my mind and makes me very sad. I help teach a cathecumenate class--that's for high school juniors about to be confirmed in the Episcopal church. Last week we discussed things that could get between you and God. I think this qualifies. Good for you for moving on.

  4. Oy. I was watching The Devil's Playground (again -- I can't get enough of those Amish) and noticed they discussed education after 8th grade being forbidden because it's a sin of pride.


    I hope your daughter eventually appreciates all the things you were able to give her that you couldn't have. I didn't when I was little, but I do now.

  5. I'm obsessed with the Amish a little bit, too. They have such an insular society and I'm curious about them. They are so mysterious. When people find out I grew up JW, they often have a similar fascination with it. God, I have some weird-ass stories.

    The Devil's Playground is a cool documentary. I've seen it a few times as well. That kid Fallon (Farron?) made me so sad for some reason. It's like his life is over before it even began. Or it seems that way. Hopefully he turned it around after filming.