On Saturday, Miss D got to ride on a float and wave to the crowds at the Apopka Christmas Parade. This turned out to be a day-eating affair. Now that I know the drill, if she's doing it next year Grandma's gonna take her camp chair and floppy hat and stake out a good spot near the performing area, and skip the waiting around to load the float, etc. I will say without any bias whatsoever that her dance school's performers were among the best in the entire overlong parade.
The Apopka Christmas Parade is a longstanding local tradition, and it's cute, but now bloated into absurdity. Cub Scouts and church groups and marching bands galore have been tainted by an invasion of shameless commercial attention whoring. It's as small town adorable as it can be, but a recent trend has spoiled it, IMHO, and has made it into a Christmas Death March. Delaney's dance school was float number 810. Eight-Hundred-and-Freaking-TEN! And about a third of the filler in that parade was local businesses who bought $4 of tinsel, taped it to a company vehicle, and called it a parade float. I made mental notes, and I will never, ever give those shameless attention whores a dime.
I'm sorry, but somebody needs to tell them to GTFO. If a business wants to be in the parade they are of course welcome - they can sponsor a local scout troop or dance troupe or whatever, and put their name on the vehicle towing the group's float. That is how a local business should get involved. But NO, we had endless entries from car dealerships and big box stores, and they didn't even try to be cute. They actually, really did just tape some tinsel on a company truck, along with a banner promoting their business. Nothing says Christmas like two assholes from the local funeral parlor driving down the road with $5 of tinsel on their car (no, they didn't use the hearse - that at least would have been darkly amusing), unless it's freaking Walmart pretending to be a "local business". If you don't have the energy to do something fun and creative and entertaining, just G. T. F. O. Really. NOW. Good DAY, Sir!
And it was hot. Really, really hot. The AC is running nearly 24/7 hot. September hot.
It's a challenge to feel Christmas-y with dripping sweat, but I'm trying.
Last night was Delaney's winter dance recital - her first recital EVER. We weren't sure how it would go; she knew the words to the song, but there was little evidence that she knew the dance itself, which wasn't so much a dance as a performance with gestures and a few dance moves. Her preschool class performed "Jolly Old St. Nicholas." I hope to have video to add soon, but my view was partially blocked by her Papa, who was recording it, so I didn't get any pictures of my own.
There was a large crowd present as several classes performed, with bigger girls doing modern dance, tap and ballet numbers, and the dance team doing a lively number with Rockettes-style high kicks. There were theater lights and a sound system, and it was Delaney's first experience with performing in front of an audience, other than singing with her preschool class. The door opened and her little class - only four girls, two who looked younger than she, and one maybe a year older - entered. Her little face was so serious and...professional! She led the group, all in pink leotards and tights and red tutus, into the room, scanning the crowd for our faces, as she took her position. Her back was straight, her chin was up, her heels were together and her toes turned out, and she looked, oh my God, like a dancer! I found myself blinking back tears, watching her.
The music started, and one shy little girl burst into tears, overwhelmed. The teacher crouched next to her, hugging her and helping her with the performance. The other two little girls muddled along, missing half the gestures and forgetting the steps. Delaney performed. Earlier appearances were deceiving - she knew the steps, the gestures, and the song, and she performed it in a way that was just so...professional! Not perfect - they are, after all, only four - but with intensity and style. It felt like a very long song from a four year old's perspective, but damn, she knew it. I saw the other girls - the two who weren't crying - watching her for cues on what they were to do next. It was an amazing experience - a glimpse of the independent, poised young girl Delaney is fast becoming. Her baby days are gone, and she's on her way to an amazing girlhood.
After the recital was over, a woman we didn't know rushed over to talk to my daughter and congratulate Delaney on her peformance, saying she couldn't take her eyes off her, and how precious and beautiful she is. I thought my son-in-law was going to burst with pride. I was still a little blinky with tears. Hugs and goodbyes - no classes for a couple of weeks, until after the holidays - and one of the other teachers told my daughter and son-in-law that while the teachers were watching the performance, she'd announced that she was claiming Delaney for a spot on the school's dance team. She bent to Delaney and said, "You're four, right? When you turn five, you're going to be in my class on the dance team, okay? We'll talk." Delaney was very proud of herself, rightly so, but also processing the experience - I asked her if she'd had a good time, if performing was fun, and she paused for a second before nodding vigorously. Her eyes were just...glowing.
Yeah, my daughter will have to cough up the dough for the big end of the year recital. She's going to earn that "Dance Mom" t-shirt.