As a newly minted twenty-something high school math teacher, I found myself frustrated with the lack of toughness on the varsity girls’ soccer team I coached. Growing up with two brothers, we played team sports and we were all-boy, all the time. With no sisters and a college experience of single-sex dorms at Notre Dame, certain aspects of girl culture mystified me.
During lunches in the teachers’ breakroom, I would often step on my soap box and declare to the other staff (mostly experienced moms) a long list of things my daughters would never do. My daughters would never wear pink. My daughters would never do ballet. My daughters would never wear a tutu. They would be athletes in competitive sports, preferably team sports that did not have any requirement for hair and makeup. The moms would laugh and tell me “Just wait – those girls may have a mind of their own!”
Well, God has a sense of humor because not only am I a stay-at-home dad of three daughters, I am now sitting through my sixth year of ballet classes and recitals. My youngest daughter’s first recital is this weekend – our first in a couple years. In years past, I dreaded recitals. They were long, endless affairs and back then our family was in ‘growth’ mode, so we always had small children in tow. I watched large portions of the performances on the monitors in the lobby with the other dads of small children.
This time around, we’ll squeeze the recital in between the older kids’ basketball games and a birthday party. But this time, I’m not dreading it. Since my older two daughters gave up ballet a couple of years ago in favor of soccer and basketball, three-year-old ballet is now a refreshing change of pace from increasingly competitive sports. Now that I can finally watch the ballet classes, they are cute and my daughter loves them. I actually find myself looking forward to her recital this weekend. I know that her ‘cute’ days are numbered and that’s bittersweet, so I’m just enjoying it while it lasts.
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