About ten years ago I ran into a former dance teacher while I was at my cousin’s wedding. I LOVED her dance class. It was called “Creative Movement” and it was a part of the after school program at my elementary school. It was very low-key and had none of the discipline and barre work of a ballet class--which was probably why it appealed to me. I loved to dance as a child, but wasn’t a big fan of hard work.
At the year-end recital we had the opportunity to perform a solo dance we choreographed ourselves. Choreography may be too strong a word—I’m pretty sure that term suggests doing the same movements each time you perform the dance. The only thing that was consistent in my number was the sweeping-down-on-one-knee-dying-swan move that ended the song every time I danced to it. Yup, that move pretty much summed me up as a seven-year-old.
The dance teacher was my aunt’s neighbor in those days. So when my cousin was married, she was on the guest list.
“Vickie?” she asked me.
“You probably don’t remember me, but I’m Mrs. J. I used to live next door to your Aunt D. and taught…”
“Creative movement!” I said excitedly.
“You do remember! I have to ask you something. Do you still perform?”
“Yes. In fact, I’m singing in the wedding.”
“I knew it! I could tell by the look on your face when you were in second grade that you would always be a performer.”
As the saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I see it in my son James. He hasn’t expressed any desire to be on stage yet, but that boy is an ACTOR down to his bones. Right now, he’s sitting on the couch playing his Nintendo DS instead of sitting in a classroom because I can’t decide if he’s faking it or not. Yesterday he was definitely sick. He was running to the bathroom all day. This morning, I can’t quite tell. He’s been complaining of stomach pains, but I haven’t seen any “evidence” so far.
I should be able to tell. I’m an actor myself, I’m a director and I’ve been a mom for almost nine years. But this kid has talent. He’s even stumped the school nurse on occasion—and there is no one tougher to fool than a seasoned school nurse. She and I have had a lot of conversations this year.
I considered being a tough guy this morning and sending James to school. But I have a feeling he’ll end up getting caught short running for the bathroom or throwing up in the cafeteria. At least I had today off—I had to leave work early on Monday (because Owen was sick) and called in sick on Tuesday (because I was sick) and Wednesday (for James). I am in desperate need of a sunny, warm, germ-free day.