Monday, September 28, 2009

the ballet diaries


Pack your bags, I'm going on a rant...

We just started ballet lessons 2 weeks ago. My daughter took lessons last year, but the classes were in the morning. The studio was quiet and it was an enjoyable way to spend 45 minutes.

This year, she takes an afternoon class. All three ballet studios are filled to the brim and there is a shared waiting room. And it's total chaos. So loud and chaotic that I was actually thinking of not taking her anymore. The noise is almost unbearable. The reason is because most of the children have siblings waiting with their mothers. And the children are allowed to run around the tiny space, yelling and jumping on things and bumping into people. As the children get louder, their mothers just start talking louder as they visit with one another.

Now, I know I am the mother of an only child, but I was also the oldest of four children and have waited for a sibling or two in my day. We were absolutely forbidden to run around. We were expected to sit down in a chair and wait. The only good reason to get up and move? If a grown-up walked in the room and they needed a place to sit. We were then expected to politely give-up our seat to them and move to a quiet place on the floor. Talking was kept to whispering. If any of these rules were broken, we were disciplined. And there were other children, also waiting for their siblings that were also being held to the same standards. I look back fondly on those hours. The quiet hush in the room was relaxing. You could hear our mothers murmuring to one another. We would have a little snuggle with my mom or we colored or we just daydreamed.

So where am I going with this? I don't know. Maybe I'm getting old and cranky. I am surprised that I have to struggle to keep my sanity for 45 minutes in a ballet studio. However, I am a mom and the job description requires certain sacrifices be made so that my daughter can dance. I can't very well tell her, "Mommy hates the noise, you have to quit ballet". And I can't change the world. So I've packed a little paper suitcase and filled it with odds and bits of paper, a glue stick, scissors and a pen. I grabbed a small journal, and every Monday afternoon at ballet, I pull out my suitcase and work on my visual journal. There's something about art that transports me. I get so involved working on my little journal, balancing a workspace on my lap, that the noise begins to be muffled. It's my sanity. It's the ballet dairies. I am trying to look at these hours as time for me. Instead of getting irritated, I am trying to see Monday afternoons as a gift. A time to take 45 minutes and do something I love. My goal is to do one small journal spread each week. Today's image is my spread from last week.

So tell me, how do you escape from the hectic world?