Grace started a summer dance class this past week. Once a week, for an hour. Hip hop class. She's been dying to take a dance class and this would be a great introduction to which one to take. Six short weeks of class, then onto something bigger in the Fall.
It's our first time to this nearby dance studio. And I told them over the phone when I enrolled her that she has Type 1 Diabetes, wears a pump, she may need to sit out if she feels low. I told them everything before we even signed up. They reassured me it was all OK. It was great, in fact. They were fine with it all. They cautioned me there might be different teachers throughout the six weeks of this short summer class.
We arrive and it's crowded. Many classes all happening at once. Tots and teens, modern dance, ballet, hip hop and modern. And about 40 parents in the dance studio lobby, seated in chairs, on floors, with babies, with toddlers. Grace and I step to the front desk and ask where her class is. Studio 3. We can wait down in the changing room, and the teacher will come and get us when it's time. All the kids are waiting down there.
We walk down the hall to the waiting/changing room. It looks like a dance waiting room - a mirror, wooden benches and big signs that say "Leave ALL bags in this room. NO bags permitted in dance studios.' Yeah, um, OK. Grace and I sit down. She's nervous. She wore her jazz shoes instead of sneakers, which all the other girls are wearing. She wore dance shorts and all the other girls are in regular shorts. She's nervous about the first class. I'm the only parent sitting with her, all the other girls wait for the teacher by themselves.
I ask under my breath if she should check her BG before class. She responds with a widening eye and a quiet 'No Mom.' I know, she doesn't want to check. I whisper that maybe we can scoot out, next to the vending machine in the hallway I saw a little alcove. We could do a quick check there. 'No Mom, I'll be fine.'
And in my head, my ever-loving head, I am saying 'What do you mean no bags on the dance room floor? Hows she gonna take her kit in there with her? I think we should check, I mean she was 70 when we left home, I gave her 30g carbs uncovered, she should be fine, but what if she isn't? Should I say something to the teacher?'
And this is what I do. I say 'OK' and I let it go. I simply let it go. I see she's nervous, I see she wants to be like everyone else. I see her pump is already on her arm, causing other kids to look at it. And I feel for her. She just wants to go to dance class.
I say one thing to her. Only one thing. 'You promise me that if you feel low, you will sit down, OK?
'Yes Mom, I will'
And I see she means it. She does.
The teacher comes to the room. She calls out 'Level A Hip Hop, are you ready?' and Grace bounces up and gets in line with the other girls in class. I get up and look at her in line. I give her a thumbs up.
I don't tell her I am waiting in the dance lobby, with her kit. I don't tell her that I am conflicted about whether to talk to the teacher or not. I don't tell her that I was like her once, fierce and independent. I don't go to the front desk receptionist and explain why I am sitting there and if she should need me, or to get a message to the teacher.
I let her be a 9 year old going to the dance class.
I say nothing.
Dance class is over and she emerges, sweaty and worked out. She tells me all about the moves she learned, and about the girls in class, and the teacher and the music. Her face is aglow. I remember being like her once, so excited about doing something I wanted to do.
She doesn't mention diabetes at all. She gets in the car, still talking about dance class. She reaches in my purse and pulls out her kit. I haven't told her to. She tests.
And she smiles.