Lillie started ballet when she was three years old. She still had the body of a toddler – a pudgy tummy and legs – and looked so cute in her pink leotard. Of course, at three years old, little girls aren't learning much ballet. They are mostly just hopping around with the other little girls in pink leotards and tulle skirts. For her first recital, she dressed up in a red and white polka dot dress, wore ringlets and a big red bow in her hair, and danced to Shirley Temple's "Animal Crackers in My Soup."
Well, recently I took my ballerina, now 11, to her first pointe class. She timidly walked into class and her teacher helped her tie the ribbons on her shoes the right way. I sat outside the class watching through the big glass window. She walked over to the bar, stretched a little and then her teacher went through the first combination the class was to do. And then my once-pudgy little ballerina rose up gracefully on her toes and there I sat with tears running down my face. I don't know why I was crying, but sitting there seeing my little girl, who is no longer little, gracefully dancing in pointe shoes was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.