Paige is the baby of our family. And while she eats up all the attention that comes with being the youngest, she also gets a bit of the shaft too. Not much that she does is a first in our family. She lives primarily off hand-me-down toys and clothes and has spent a lot of her young life attending functions and events that revolved around her older siblings. Concerts. Graduations. School pick up. School drop off. Going to the babysitter so I could chaperone field trips. Sitting through soccer practice and swim lessons. Tagging along on play dates, but not having many of her own. She wanted to be included, but she just wasn't old enough.
A few weeks ago, Curt and I sat down to plan out this summer. Grant and Katie wanted to go to Camp Tillikum, a cool Christian day camp. Alli wanted to do gymnastics, but we chose Safety Town Camp for her instead to reinforce all those safety rules that don't seem to stay cemented in her brain. Then there was Paige. I spotted a "creative movement camp" (4 days of 30 minute classes) for 3-5 year olds that touched on all dance styles, but focused primarily on ballet. Initially it didn't seem worth the effort to schlepp all four kids across town for a 30 minute class, but I decided it was time for Paige to have a turn doing something exclusively for herself.
Paige's camp started on Monday. She found a ballerina costume in one of the dress-up drawers and left the house looking very girly in her pink tu-tu and purple bow. We pulled into the parking lot at the Chehalem Armory 15 minutes EARLY, a miracle in and of itself, since I can never seem to arrive anywhere earlier than 5 minutes late. (When you're paying for a 30 minute class, you just better be on time!) Miss Cheryl, the instructor, was getting out of her car and she gleefully greeted my crew of kids with an oh-so-happy, "Well hello. And who is going to be dancing with me today?"
Paige, who was still a bit "nowvous," timidly pushed her little hand in the air and said, "It's my turn." We followed Miss Cheryl to the back of the armory, where a quaint little dance studio was tucked in the corner. The peach sponged-painted walls were lined with a worn wooden ballet bar and the non-painted walls were decked out in floor-length mirrors. One by one, excited little ballerinas and not-so-excited little boys trickled into the dance studio and mulled around waiting for class to start.
I wish I had my camera ready when Miss Cheryl called out, "Okay dancers. Please come to the center." When Paige realized she was one of "the dancers" she stood up straight, puffed out her chest, gave her siblings a really smug grin and waltzed to the center of the room. When she reached the center, she glanced over her shoulder, a ginormous smiled plastered on her face, as if to say, "Finally, it's my turn."