Baller(ina): The story of a girl in two parts
Part the first:
Tomorrow Rosie starts ballet. Her school offers a class during the hours that she’s there, which means she gets to wear her leotard to school. It’s a good thing, too, because from the minute I took it out of the package she’s insisted on having it on her body, taking it off only to bathe.
We had been talking ballet up to her, telling her she would get to start soon, and that she would get to wear her beskirted pink get up to school, which I thought was what sealed the deal on her extreme excitement over the impending classes. But then one day when we were chatting with the school director, it struck me that I hadn’t really thought to define the word ballet to her—I’d just been drumming up her anticipation of a “fun thing” that she would get to participate in.
So I asked her, “Rosie, do you know what ballet is? Do you know what you will do when you go to ballet?” She clasped her hands to her chest happily and gasped, “What?!?”
Then I let the bomb drop. “You get to dance.”
The reaction on her face could have lit up the night sky.
Part the second:
It’s a family outing to the neighborhood school playground; Noah by chance has brought along two footballs instead of just one. He and L pass theirs back and forth, Noah running through the grass and dropping more throws than he catches, dissolving into giggles as he races L to retrieve the rolled away ball. Rosie, holding the extra football and watching intently, says to me fervently, “Mama, we are GIRLS.” I confirm that what she asserts is true.
Immediately after our exchange she hurls the football into the grass and charges after it, throwing herself to the ground to recover it. Her tumble is fierce, but she’s up in a flash, running back to the start to do it again.
She spends the rest of our time outside tossing the pigskin, climbing the rock wall unassisted (“You stand over THERE and watch me, Mama.”), swinging as high as her little legs can pump her and careening down the tallest and twistiest slide the playground set has to offer, sailing off the end into the wood chips with total abandon.
Yes Rosie, we are girls. And I hope you always know with such certainty what a mighty fine thing that is to be.