Trials and Tribulations of a Dance Mam Part One

I never envisioned myself as a Dance Mam (I’m Cumbrian – it’s mam, not mum).  At the age of 33, I had two boys and fully expected the growing embryo inside of me to be male (Daniel Joseph/Danny J).  I smiled at the thought of 3 little blue ducklings waddling behind me wherever I went – yeah right, like Joel was ever gonna stay in line!

Anyway, I digress.  So, Danny J turned out to be Abigail Rachel Stevenson or ARS (as she’s getting older and acquiring attitude, I so want to call her this!) My house was suddenly injected with a myriad of pinks and my life vision altered slightly.

Previously, I had imagined weekends standing in the cold and rain, facing yet another field of green, watching lots of pointless running, late tackles and missed goal scoring opportunities.  But enough about Ian!  The boys did indeed take up football, but one of my most enduring successes has been my ability to avoid watching them play!  Ian, as Sam’s coach, was obviously always there for him. And, on the rare occasions either he or my Dad couldn’t watch Joel dig for worms, sorry, play football, I always managed to park the car close enough so that I could stay warm and dry inside, read my kindle and occasionally look up to see some amazing piece of skill by Joel (by Joel’s standards) that I could comment on endlessly so that he would be none the wiser – pretty much like he is about life in general.

Anyway, there came the time when certain relatives started to ask a question which I wasn’t expecting.  “Where are you taking her dancing?”  I myself didn’t dance as a child.  I had planned for Abigail to follow in my footsteps.  She would go to Brownies long enough to get the uniform, earn a couple of shiny badges then quit.  Around the same time, Abigail started to sway along to music, wiggle her tushy to kids’ themes tunes and hop around the room when I remembered from a previous life how to put the radio on.  So, one day, I asked her the fateful question and my life would never be the same.  “Would you like to go dancing?”

I don’t think either of us appreciated what this would entail.  But one Saturday morning I found myself in unfamiliar territory at the dance school recommended by those aforementioned relatives.  Stepping through the door was like going through the wardrobe into Narnia. I felt uncomfortable and disorientated, although luckily the dance teacher was nothing like the Ice Queen.  I have clear memories of this day.  Abigail was evidently dressed inappropriately.  (Not being quite right has been the constant in Abigail’s dancing career).  But it wasn’t her incorrect attire which made her stick out like a sore thumb.  She adopted this stance which involved permanent hunched shoulders and a left leg which had an inferior attitude and refused point blank to go in front of the right! Was this normal?  How long till she was Darcey Bussell standard?  I also recall vividly that they were dancing to a song about a mouse with clogs on which is quite ironic, as I later learned that Abigail’s great-great aunt was indeed a national clog dancing champion and had her own clog dancing troupe!  Maybe if I’d put Abigail in clogs, those stiff shoulders would have relaxed and her left leg would have had enough self esteem to overtake the right!  I knew that song off by heart by the end of the lesson and, so, our dancing journey had begun.

Abigail’s great-great aunt.

Jean Postlethwaite clogs

It started off fairly easily.  I got the hang of the clothes and, in those days, Abigail didn’t have enough hair to necessitate tidy buns or neat French plaits. My main challenge was having to drag Joel along with me to these lessons.  Sam too, but many people are often surprised to learn I have an older son.  That’s because he’s no trouble.  Absolutely no trouble at all.  Unlike Joel but that’s a whole different novel, never mind a blog! So, hidden away in some back room, I entertained Joel while Abigail ‘danced’.  One hour a week.  60 minutes every seven days.  But you can’t rest on your laurels.  Just as you get the hang of one thing, something new appears to slap you in the face and remind you that you just weren’t cut out to be a dance mam.  The Show.

To be continued.