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Ballet Camp

Swim lessons just wrapped up last week,
but there’s no rest for the weary around here; yesterday
morning saw the start of Cora’s four-day ballet camp. How was
Cora going into it?

In a word, ecstatic.

We actually had Cora signed up for a ballet camp last summer
– she’d just turned three, the minimum age at which a
camp is offered at our ballet studio. Unfortunately, Cora was
apparently the only three-year-old interested in a week-long ballet
camp, and the class was canceled. Cora was devastated, and I ended
up doing a one-day ballet camp of our own at my theatre studio,
just for Cora and Maddie and a friend.

This year, though, Cora’s camp held together, and we received
confirmation of it last week. Cora’s been excited for weeks
and couldn’t wait to “move up” on the color
chart: three-year-olds wear pink in class, and Cora spent all last
year in pink every Tuesday. Now that she’s four, though, she
can wear light purple, and Cora’s had Maddie’s old
purple leotard and skirt ready to go for a long, long time. Sunday
night it was laid out very carefully and lovingly on her chair, and
I could see Cora shivering in anticipation as she went to bed.

Monday morning, Cora came out of her room,
walked to the top of the stairs, and paused, one hand jauntily on a
hip. “Today, someone in this family is going to ballet camp
for the first time. Me!” and she threw her arms out wide in
happiness. She breezed through breakfast and threw on her ballet
clothes, straining at the leash to get to ballet.

When we arrived and got changed, Cora barely looked back as she ran
towards her teacher. Miss Linda looked at Cora in her first-time
purple and said with a twinkle in her eye, “Why, Cora,
don’t you look like such a big girl in your purple
leotard!” Cora wriggled with happiness and they were off.

So I never had the uncertainty, the clinginess that I had with
Maddie the first time she was away from me for more than half an
hour. Cora ran to me when I picked her up, but there wasn’t
particularly any desperation in the scramble, just happiness. My
girl loves her some ballet, I can tell you that.

I did see a tiny bit of my baby’s baby-ness as I was putting
her to bed last night: while I tucked her in, I said, “Are
you looking forward to ballet camp tomorrow?” She nodded yes,
before saying gleefully, “I get to go to ballet camp all
week!” I smiled and kissed her and started to walk out of the

“But Mommy,” she said, and I turned around. “Yes,
baby?” Cora looked at me soberly. “I did miss you while
I was in camp.”

I melted. “I know, baby, and I missed you too. But I know how
much you love ballet, so I was happy you were doing something you
love.” Cora nodded thoughtfully. “I do love you a lot,
but I love ballet camp too, so it works out.”

“But Mommy –“ and I turned again.

“One week of ballet camp is enough. Then it’s back to
you, ok?”



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