My ballerina

The above photo was taken seconds ago during my daughter’s ballet class.

Casey is 7, and she’s been in ballet for three or four years now. She’s not especially graceful or coordinated; she certainly has no future as a ballerina. And yet, I love this. I love being here, peeking through the curtain, hearing the music, tying her hair in a bun, watching her prance around with the other girls.

As she’s gotten older, the ballet buzz has sorta worn down a bit. Initially, it was all about the whole princess thing. Feeling like a princess; dressing like a princess. When Casey was smaller, she used to wear princess dresses, literally, everywhere. So ballet fed into that.

Now she’s older. She wants to play with her friends; leap around the trampoline; hang at the playground. She’s not an aspiring princess anymore, and with each passing month I feel like I’m losing the little girl who used to waddle around and long for her daddy to pick her up and throw her into the air. I hate that loss. Not because it signifies my aging, but because it signifies her aging. Childhood passes so quickly, you blink and it’s gone. I hate that she’s 7, in that 7 is halfway to 14, and 14 is four years removed from high school graduation, and high school graduation means she’s off to college. I know God laughs at those who make plans (a great quote), but I can’t always help myself. She’s gone from being a little girl to a girl. Then she’ll be a young woman. Then, a woman.

I want my ballerina back.

I fear she’s gone.