But she laughs gently, rolling her eyes in a sweet way. In a way that tells me I’m failing, but she thinks I’m pretty darn cute, trying to do what she does.
I try to explain to her – Look at my posture! Look at my pose and poise! But her reply is a tad condescending despite her touch of forgiveness.
“I’ve been doing this since I was 5, Madre. You’re just beginning.”
But, I want to sputter back, but I’ve been stretching and yoga-ing, running and walking miles, living for years and years before you were even born.
Where are we? Oh, I didn’t mention? Every Monday afternoon I pick up my 10-year-old granddaughter from her school and drive her to her ballet lesson. In the car, she always asks, “whatya got for me today, Madre?” And I hand her a homemade brownie, or chocolate chip bar, or meringue cookie, and she munches contemplatively, savoring every bite, and finally proclaiming, “These are good!” just as I drive into the studio’s driveway.
This afternoon, we arrive early, before the teacher, before the other ballet students. Sophie and I sneak in the old house that’s now used exclusively for ballet. Sneaking is not the correct word. The door is unlocked. I turn on the lights. She changes quickly to her ballet tights, black leotard and soft pick ballet shoes. With a glint of “I dare you” in her eyes, Sophie glides into the darkened studio, even though students are forbidden to enter without the teacher’s presence.
I slide my shoes off and tiptoe into the room, shoeless, sockless, and fearless. I’m the adult in charge here, after all. Aren’t I?
I challenge my outspoken granddaughter to teach me some of the steps they’ve been learning for their upcoming recital.
I stumble immediately, missing her cues. “Um, can you slow that down so I can follow step by step?” I ask.
Sophie supposedly slows down her cavorting, but I mess up at first position. My granddaughter shakes her head, her eyes merry as she proclaims sadly, “No, Madre.”
The outside door opens and both of us scurry back to the waiting room like mice caught eating the cheese. We sit on the bench as innocent as … ballet dancers.
Sophie pats me on my knee and whispers.