Archives: Bees, birds and ballet

This was one of a short series of columns I published on the IOL Lifestyle site – the original, published on September 6, is here:


I went to the ballet last night.

Well, sort of. It was my niece’s school ballet concert and it was enchanting.

It was called Down The Country Lane and featured girls (it is a
girls-only school, after all) from Grades R to 7 dancing as birds,
sunbeams, mice, wooland fairies and bees, among others.

My niece Gemma, aged six, was one of the bees, in a black-and-yellow
striped costume and a proper bun and pink ballet stockings. She had
wanted to be a sunbeam, as their costumes were so pretty but it was
not to be.

The really little girls all have a designated older girl to dance with
them in case they forget what they are supposed to be doing – but,
between you and me, some of them still forgot.

Were they in time with each other? No.

Were they all going in the same direction? No.

Were they all properly spaced? No.

Were they all graceful? No

But they were all trying really hard and they were lovely.

Gemma fell over in last year’s concert (thereby pre-disastering
herself) and was a very fluttery if slightly anxious bee. Mom, Dad,
Gran and Aunt beamed all the way through her three minutes of fame.

I came to parenthood late and by the skin of my teeth, and every
school concert I go to (not to mention every kiddie birthday party)
reminds me why I wanted it so much. It’s a chance to be part of what
my sister calls “the fabric of community”, a chance to share love and
fun and make memories. I am, as they say, ever grateful for this
parenting life.

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