Then the men took their turns, leaping, spinning, throwing themselves into the air with such strength and precision and mastery. It gave me goosebumps.
I had forgotten how much I loved the ballet. I had forgotten how I had longed to be a dancer, so many, many years ago.
I was touched somewhere in the depths of my heart, in the place where we hold special dreams.
I was eight years old again, dreaming the dream.
The final chords swelled from the orchestra. The principal dancer walked slowly forward, holding the precious flower in his hand, the look of such loving despair on his face.
"Giselle" was over.
I leapt to my feet, tears in my eyes, my hands clapping in unison with the thundering applause around me. And a feeling of sheer joy gripped me, knowing that I had just witnessed a magical, historical performance.
My sister took me and my mother to the ballet on Sunday. It was my birthday present (from October) and my mother's birthday weekend. And unbeknownst to us at the time that we booked the tickets, it was to be the very last performance of Chan Hon Goh, as principal dancer of the National Ballet of Canada. She has been somewhat of a living legend, well known for her beauty, strength and talent. After 20 years with the company, she has retired. At the age of 40, she has decided to shift her career and spend more time with her family.
When she came back on stage with the rest of the dancers, all eyes were upon her. Bouquets were thrown on the stage, several of her principal dancer colleagues came up her, each presenting a single rose, other famous National Ballet alumni came on stage (ie. Rex Harrington, Karen Kain...), her parents, and finally her husband and young son.
The crowd went wild as a shower of red balloons rained on the dancers.
And her little son, whose hand had been clasped by his beautiful dancer mother, broke away to kick through the round balls of fun. He grabbed a couple and threw them up in the air with glee.
Rounds of laughter arose from the audience and the stage.
A moving, perfect moment.
"Mommy, how do dreams come true?" asked my little girl as I drove her and her brother home from the library the other afternoon.
"Well, sometimes dreams take a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, but if it's something you really want to do, you just keep at it. Mommy and Daddy will help you get where you want to get, but it's something you really have to want for yourself."
As I said this, I remembered how badly I had wanted to be a ballerina. But when it came time to step it up a bit and commit to training three times week, I was already spread so thin with lessons and school. My mother gave me a choice. To continue with ballet, knowing that despite my teacher's suggestion, I likely wasn't good enough to make it as a professional; or go with the music lessons and embrace something that wouldn't be so limited.
So at the age of 11, I gave up my first real "dream".
Fast forward over 30 years. After the practical route gave me my first experience with entrepreneurship (teaching piano while in highschool); after continuing with dance as a hobby, but opening up to other possibilities in school and career ... I come to my life as it is now.
Ten years ago I was struggling with infertility, wondering whether I would ever be a mother.
Another dream that I wasn't sure would ever be fulfilled. But I wasn't going to let this one go so easily.
So thankfully this dream did and is still, coming true.
*****Back in the minivan...
"So sweetie, what is your dream?" I asked.
"I want to be Hannah Montana when I grow up!"
And her big brother piped in,"Well, G, if you really want it, you should sing some more, and then Mommy and Daddy can get you into lessons. Then you can practice, try out for shows, there are so many ways for you to get there..."
He didn't mention that she'd also have to dye her hair blonde and pick up a Southern drawl.
But that's okay.
After all, it's her dream and if she'll stick with it, we'll be there for her.