Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dancing Solo

I finally got to dance with my daughter today.

Last year's Abbey Medieval Festival

Let me rephrase that. 

I finally got to dance next to my daughter today.

She asked me not to join her in the beginner's belly dance class that started at the end of January.  I have been sitting quietly, doing my veterinary continuing education points or writing in my journal, while all the other ladies swoosh and swoop and twirl and jiggle about.  I believe I gave off the impression of being aloof and uninterested, but only because I so much wanted to take part and I so much knew I had to exclude myself from what was more importantly Ryan's domain.

But now the Abbey Medieval Fest is coming up in early July and it's time for the gypsy dances.  We are both planning on taking part in the Romani Gypsy re-enactment.  And part of that is dancing.


The Shuvani Romani

I wore a lilac wrap with jingles on it that I had originally bought for Ryan but she refuses to wear.  I had on jangly purple earrings and silver necklaces and loads of bangles on both wrists, India-style.  And my hand-made leather gypsy sandals and white gypsy blouse. 

Ryan wore black leggings and a blue top and refused to have anything to do with me.

Once we got there we put on our full skirts and she promptly went to the other side of the room.

I didn't see her again until an hour later when it was time to partner up.

"You are going to partner with me, right?"  I asked.

It was supposed to be a rhetorical question.

No emotion.  No sign of happiness.  No sign of acknowledgement.  Just the same way I drag her everywhere (except the barn), completely apathetic.  Except for the fact that she knew all the moves, was swaying and shimmying and doing quite well, I would think she didn't want to be there at all, let alone with me.

I try not to take it personally - this is why a diagnosis helps - and I tried hard not to take it personally today.  But we had to dance around each other, we were supposed to be smiling and swooshing our skirts at each other, we were supposed to be flirting.  We were supposed to make EYE CONTACT.

Why am I only noticing now that my daughter rarely makes eye contact with me? 

"Get closer together.  Stay together.  You are dancing together.  Look at each other," the teacher tried.

I felt tears well up in my eyes and almost walked out the door.

"This isn't going to work for us," I managed.

Ryan could have been dancing alone in that room, she certainly wasn't dancing with me.

I thought about what walking out now would do to her, and to me.  Later I asked her if she knew that she had been hurting my feelings.  Huh?  No.  But she really didn't want to talk about it either.

She danced her dance.  And I danced mine. 

I enjoyed being in a room with other women dancing together.  I enjoyed the music, the moves, the skirt-swishing and the gypsy attitude.  I enjoyed the circle of women.

Ryan was among us.  And that has to be enough.  She enjoys the dance.  She dances well.  But she dances alone.  She dances by herself, with herself, and for herself. 

Tonight, I realise that this is okay, that this is the best reason to dance.  She dances because she enjoys the dance and the movements her body makes.  Anything else - wanting to be a part of a larger group, wanting to bond with my daughter, wanting to feel a shared passion, a common sisterhood, a mutual joy - is my problem.

Your children are not your children.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

My daughter dances solo. 
But she is dancing.

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