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I just scheduled a road test for my daughter, Lily, to get her NY state driver’s license. This means she has to hurry up and learn how to parallel park in the next week or so. But it also means that, for better or worse, our time driving her back and forth to ballet classes, tennis practice, voice lessons, play rehearsals, work and to Alexis’s house is coming to an end. And I am sad and anxious, yet worried and glad all at once.
Waiting in dance studios and parking lots across the region has become a way of life for me. Sometimes waiting is a frustration, and other times it is a space of relaxation. Waiting is a paradox: it is a respite from the grind and simultaneously part of the grind. The nitty-gritty of living.
Before the prevalence of smartphones, people spoke to one another more in waiting rooms. I treasure some of the friendships I made with other mothers, when my daughter was younger, as we waited for our kids to finish with pre-ballet or tap class. We chatted and consoled. There was drama and gossip, recipes and information. Plus, back in the pre-smartphone days, there were more magazines to read. The waiting room reflected—for better or worse—the essence of a community.
Our daughters would bring us sequins that had fallen off recital costumes that they had collected from the floors. It is hard to remember that time of childhood simplicity when finding such a treasure as a glittery sequin was so extraordinary.
I will hold especially dear the time spent in the nostalgic space of my daughter’s current dance studio, Catskill Dance Moves, in Walton, NY. I appreciate the old piano in the corner and the photos of past recitals on the walls. I enjoy hearing the music stop and start. As I listen to the teachers’ voices calling from the other rooms as they count and call commands, I am brought back to the joy of my own days as a dance student. Their voices are a familiar comfort as I sit there drinking coffee, balancing my check book, or reading. Other times, I might be scrolling mindlessly through Facebook or just staring into space trying to collect myself.
It is a long time from the hectic days when I would drive both of my kids to two different soccer fields for practices or games that started at the same time. Now, there is not much time left before my daughter will be able to drive to classes and appointments herself. I have to say that I will miss these weekly excursions, filled with conversation and laughter and music, as we drive together in the car.
What will I do with all that time?