By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
Meltdowns are no fun, and they’re especially painful when they happen in public.
Recently I attended a friend’s daughter’s first dance recital. It was beautiful, it was funny, it was entertaining. Nothing cracks me up quite like a row of four-year-olds in pink tutus doing their best to tap on a beat.
Except this time I wasn’t laughing. Every tiny dancer made me long for the one I could have had, should have had. I sat in the semi-darkened theater, surrounded by parents, grandparents, siblings, and every form of video camera and cried. Big tears rolled down my cheeks, my nose ran like a fire hose, and when the lights came up, I doubt anyone thought my swollen face was due to seasonal allergies.
I took my first dance class when I was five and tapped, kicked, twirled, and leapt my way through childhood. I loved the magic, the music, the costumes, and even the discipline. I looked forward to one day watching my own daughter glide across a stage, and as I watched my young friend steal the show, I thought about how sad I was to to miss sharing these experiences with a mini-me.
’Tis the season of holiday performances: children’s choirs, reenactments of the nativity (I love Lisa’s description of the drive-through nativity she discovered a few years ago), pageants, caroling, The Nutcracker. I loved them all when I had parts in them, and I still love them. It’s just a little bit harder these days to keep my emotions to myself when I’m in the midst of the family fun.
So, if you notice a gal sniffling in row 12 during the curtain call, kindly pass her a tissue.
The holiday festivities can bring up all sorts of painful emotions when you’re childfree-not-by-choice. If you could use some inspiration and encouragement to get you through the tough times, check out the Life Without Baby Holiday Companion available here and on Amazon.