I never thought I’d be one of those moms. The mom who flinches when her five year old son asks if he can take a dance class. I hate admitting my reservations about his request. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I stuff his little body in a straight jacket and forbid him to move his body to music. Quite the contrary. Ever since he was named, Best dancer of the summer at his day camp, (although I’m not quite sure what the actual criteria for achieving such an accolade could’ve been) I’ve encouraged his love of dancing, with our impromptu dance parties in the living room and cheered him on as he’s showcased his very Unique moves for any audience he can assemble; i.e.. his grandparents.
I adore that he’s shown an interest in something other than SpongeBob, Mario and his sidekick Luigi- and yet when he asked to attend dance classes, a red flag flashed before my eyes. I pictured him in a tutu, wearing ballet slippers and I allowed society’s mores , about the roles our boys are supposed to maintain to infiltrate my consciousness and I caved into the pressure. I simply wasn’t brave enough to say, Yes neighbor, I have a son, and I don’t care that he wears a leotard and pirouettes to his little heart’s content. He’s a dancer and I love him.
The thing is I want to be able to do just that, so why am I finding it so difficult? Why am I allowing society’s traditional belief that boys should play with cars and take karate lessons as opposed to playing with Barbies and practicing ballet, to inform my decision. In fact each Tuesday, as he wistfully watches his big sister suit up in her ballet uniform and head off to class and looks at me and quietly asks, Mommy when will it be my turn to go to dance lessons? My heart breaks a little. Still I continually find myself telling him; Oh they are still planning a class that is special just for boys like you, lying through my teeth knowing full-well there is no such class in the works.
In a perfect world, I’d buy my five year old tights, a leotard and ballet slippers and send him off on his merry way. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and I don’t want him to be at the mercy of snickers from others about his ballet lessons. Or maybe it’s that I don’t want to be at the receiving end of other women, suspiciously questioning why my son wants to take ballet lessons as opposed to karate. I feel like I live my life with no regrets, I am an open book and I have nothing to hide and yet- this is one leap I’m afraid to take and I’m not sure why.