A Letter To My Daughter’s Dance Teachers

Dear P&T;

While I try to wrap my head around the news of your retirement, while I let it sit and I become used to the notion, I think of how much you have impacted my child’s life these past 12 years.

I know I’m not a hardcore dance mom. I can’t tell you the difference between a horn pipe and a slip jig (just kidding…one is heavy shoe and one is light, umm, right?). I couldn’t name many of the judges and didn’t even know there was an online irish dance forum until 2013 (that’s an exaggeration…it was 2011). But I do know what I know, and that is you have had a tremendous effect on our child’s life.

You were such a huge part of her childhood. You helped raise her. She is the person she is because of you. You have taught her so much in the years she has been under your wing. I can’t thank you enough for giving such a huge part of your life to make such a difference in her life.

We chose you, not only because you are amazing teachers, but amazing men. You are strong in character and superb role models. The manner in which you have conducted yourselves the past few years, most especially this past year, speaks volumes of who you are. I couldn’t be more proud to call you my child’s dance teachers. You have taught her to rise above, to always be kind, while others were less than so.

So, here we are, just days after your announcement and I wanted you to know what you have done for our child.

You have given her confidence and courage. Taught her about teamwork and commitment. You have introduced her to lifelong friends. Taught her about disappointment and how to pick herself up and dust herself off.

You have given her the gift of true sportsmanship and compassion. You have taught her how to take care of herself, be passionate and disciplined. You have shown her respect and how to respect. She has learned how to push herself to her limit, to persevere, and not give up.

All of these things, and more, are skills she will take with her throughout her lifetime. The memories you helped to create will be told time and time again to her own children (Future Irish Dancers of America?).

I cannot begin to make you understand how much we will miss having you so close within our lives. I will think of you often when she competes, dances across the kitchen floor and ties up her ghillies. You will always have a special place in all of our hearts.

Please enjoy the next phase of your lives, and always remember the lives you have touched during your long, wonderful career. You should be very proud. We love you.

Gratefully yours,



The Vent of a Half Irish Woman Part 2

On the ride home.  I had lost every last marble I had left in my head.
On the ride home. I had just about lost every last marble I had left in my head.  Look closely. You can see one coming out of my ear.

I don’t know who I think I am.  I’m not even whole Irish.  I am half.  Half.  But yet I stayed in a full-on Irish rage for close to an entire weekend.  This rage actually continued through today because I had a really bad day at work.  But I will save that for another time.  Because what happened today deserves a post all on its own.

Let me remind you that I was in Irish Hell for close to 2 days.  I say close to 2 days, because I had to cut one day short for work.  Which was a treat.  Seriously.  This was my weekend:  Saturday – Irish Dance performance at the Irish Festival.  Sunday – Yet another Irish Dance Competition.

When a town puts on a festival of any kind, people come out in droves.  It could be the Annual Festival of Accountants.  They come.  Because unless you live in NYC or Paris, there is never enough to do.  Add in beer, bagpipes and irish dancing and it turns downright insane.

The venue for a festival of this capacity should be held in a small stadium.  Not an irish pub the size of my living room.  When I came to this realization, which was when the light turned from green to red TWICE and I didn’t move but a car length, I should have kept going.  That is IF I could have kept going.  I would have saved myself some indigestion, an ulcer and a few gray hairs.

Just because you see a spot in an overcrowded parking lot, does not mean it’s yours.  Even when you are on top of said spot.  Even when you are about to turn into said spot.  How do I know?  Because the guy in front of you, although he originally passed it up, can decide to slam his car into reverse and enter your spot on two of his four wheels.  All while his wife is telling you to back up.

My next episode of Road Rage came when I had to exit the lot and go back to the light that went from green to red twice.  Except this time, I was going to run the part where it turned red to make a left.  Which would have worked out fine if the guy coming in the opposite direction didn’t decide to ALSO run the red light.  Can you believe he shot ME a dirty look?  Of course, I shouted some obscenities at him.  While my window was down.  It was then that I saw a fellow irish dance mom walking on the sidewalk with her sweet little child, someone that I do not know well, look at me disapprovingly.  Proud moment in my life.  Proud I tell you.

I noticed there were 2 potential spots.  I say potential, because two old ladies were shooting the breeze.  Without a care in the world.  Just standing there.  Talking.  While twenty thousand people are looking for a place to park, they decide to stand there and talk.  Not get in their cars, back up and meet for coffee.  Stand there and waste two perfectly good spots talking.  So, I did what every other irate woman does…made my own spot.  I didn’t care who or what I was blocking at that point.  I had a piece of the entertainment in my car.  Did they want to see some Irish Step Dancing or what?  Or should I say, “Irish BREAK Dancing.”  Because that is what one spectator referred to it as.  Yes sir, it’s Irish Break Dancing.  Have another beer.

After I elbowed enough people to cause permanent damage, I managed to find a spot in the grass with the other moms.  Our dancers were soon herded like cattle into the place.  I barely got the chance to wish her luck and say goodbye.  I tried to catch her performance.  But do you know what it’s like to get past 8 thousand tipsy irishmen?  It wasn’t even worth it.  Knowing she had a safe ride home, I left for work.  Feeling a little defeated and a lot sad.

Sunday was going to be a better day.  Or so I thought.  It started great.  Getting The Kid’s hair into her wig went perfectly.  No one screamed at each other.  Little did I know, the wig would be a complete waste.

We rode up to the competition with friends.  It was an hour and a half drive so it was great to have the company.  It was also great to not to have to drive because of what happens to my legs after 12 minutes in the driving position.

The place was a zoo.  As always.  And it’s rainy, wet and cold.  I opted for flats. Not boots. My feet were wet before the day began.  Fun stuff.  I had on a short sleeve shirt.  Some sane voice in the back of my head told me to grab a sweater before we left.  So I did.  It’s probably the only thing that went well.  Listening to the little voice in my head.  Because it was freezing.  Everywhere I went.  Again, should have checked the weather report.  This is becoming a real problem with me.

After we secured some real estate, the girls started prepping.  You know, putting on the shoes, stretching, practicing.  Have you ever known of an injury occurring while stretching?  It can happen because it happened to my child.  It involved a high kick followed by an ass on a twisted foot and a lot of tears.  She had just come off of a stress fracture of her other foot.  This felt very similar.  She was scared.  I was freaking out.  Not a good combination.

Needless to say, she did not dance.  Which was the smart choice.  But still.  $40 to sign up for these effing competitions that suck the ever loving life out of me and she could not dance.  It was disappointing.  And to add insult to injury (here’s a time when that expression actually makes sense) we were stuck there until the very bitter end because of our carpool.  The car ride home was really fun.  And happened to save my sorry ass from completely going over the edge.  After spending the next morning in the orthopedics office, it was determined that her injury is a sprained foot.  Alleluia.

This recent occurrence prompted me to write a list of all her injuries incurred during Irish Dance in the last 10 years.  Actually, these injuries all were incurred in the last three years, but who’s counting?

  • 1 broken wrist
  • 2 knees suffering from Osgood Schlatter’s Disease
  • 2 hips suffering from IT Band Syndrome
  • 1 stress fracture of the left foot
  • 1 sprained right foot
  • 1 ankle with pulled tendons (do ankles even have tendons?)
  • Swelling of the protective coating of an achilles heel.  Or whatever.  I’m numb by now.  And it ain’t the wine talking either.

Not to mention the 100’s of bloody socks due to blisters on top of blisters.  And that’s nothing compared to some of the other kids’ injuries.  I’m thinking Chess Team is in order.  What’s the worst that could happen?  The Knight could drop on her finger and chip a nail?  I’ll take my chances.  And I may actually live longer.


The Vent of a Half Irish Woman


The Kid does sports.  She is on the JV Field Hockey team at school.  She also is an Irish Dancer.  Before you roll your eyes and say that Irish Dance is NOT a sport, think again.  Anything that requires dedication, desire, all of your blood, sweat, tears and money, lots and lots of money, is a sport.

Last weekend she had a dance competition.  Anyone who partakes in any kind of sport, knows what a freaking affair it is.  We were gone for literally 10 hours.  TEN.  From the moment we pulled out of the driveway to the moment we pulled back in.  An eight and a half hour shift at My Retail Job is less draining.

While I am standing there, waiting, waiting and waiting some more, surrounded by crying and screaming competitors, listening to the “bang bang bang” of hard shoes practicing over and over up and down the halls and hearing the same irish music again and again for 6+ hours, I was thinking about what we mother’s do for our children.  And why we do it.  Well, we do it because we love them.  But is that enough?   This is the crap I need to vent about right now because I will be doing this same exact thing tomorrow.

I sat in a car for what was supposed to be one hour and 20 minutes.  I cannot sit in a car for one hour and 20 minutes because my body is not that of a 15 year old.  After 20 minutes, my knee starts to pulsate.  After 32 minutes, I have sciatica pain running down both legs.  After about 56 minutes, my bunion starts acting up in my riding boots because when I left in the morning it was 58 degrees and I felt riding boots were in order.  If I had bothered to look at the weather report for the day, I would have seen that flip flops would have been the smarter choice.  Freaking Indian Summers suck.  Just make up your mind Mother Nature.

Our one hour and 20 minute car ride turned into a 2 hour and 20 minute car ride because, well, I didn’t know why.  I was guessing an accident.  But there was a nothing.  Nothing.  We were crawling for no reason at all.  I’m not lying.  No reason at all.  NONE.  Understand?  The Whitestone Bridge is 3,770 feet long.  If my calculation is correct, it took me 62.83 seconds to go one foot.

When we arrived, it took me five minutes to extract myself from the position in which I was in from the driver’s seat of my car.  And another five minutes to walk to our destination, just mere feet into the venue.  Because my joints were stiff.  I think I caught a glimpse of what a 92 year old woman feels like.  And it ain’t pretty.  Just so you know.

It’s great fun to be body slammed.  Continuously.  I swear I feel like I’m at a punk rock concert every single time I subject myself to this madness.  I also really love it when people form a human chain in the middle of the corridor.  That’s ok, people. Really, I did not need to pass.  I’ll just take out my magical wings and fly over you.  There are enough people at these venues to heat the inside of Yankee Stadium and I was wearing a sweater with a tiny camisole under it.  Which means I had to keep the sweater on.  Again, it would have been smart to check the weather report for the day.

The options for lunch (which was really dinner, which was really lunch because we somehow missed that meal):  cardboard pizza as stiff as my joints after a 2 hour car ride or 2 for 1 american wedge slices.  I opted for the wedge.  The cheese I think was supposed to be a slice of american.  I’m sure that at the start of the day it looked just like that.  A slice.  But by the time I got to it, it resembled that of Cheese Whiz.  So why did I choose the sandwich?  Because it was the bargain of the day.  And I am not one to pass up on a good deal.  In the meantime, The Kid scored herself some spaghetti and meatballs.  Don’t ask.  I’m not sure.

After what seemed like an eternity, “they” were ready to announce the awards for The Kid’s competition.  The outcome was not good.  But I will say she danced her little ass off.  She was amazing.  She tried her hardest.  It was the first time doing a competition in months because of an injury.  So this mamma bear was extremely proud nonetheless.  BUT, I now had to deal with a very disappointed child.  In a car ride where the only thing I can concentrate on is how I can manage to keep my legs from atrophying.

That felt good to get off my chest.  Thanks for listening.  I get to do this all over again tomorrow.  Come join me.  I’ll be the woman with wine in her water bottle.  Someone get me a lobotomy.

14 Years Equals A Trip Around the World TWICE


 The kid is an irish dancer.  For anyone who has a child who partakes in the irish dance world (or any major sport for that matter) you understand that it will cost DH and me enough to send her to Harvard 3 times over by the time she is done (ok, I’m exaggerating just a little, but still…).

I was day dreaming today and thinking of all the things I could do if she decided to just join the debate club at school instead.  I felt the need to share to put it all into perspective:

  • 1 year of tuition x 14 years = one in-ground pool
  • 3 solo dresses = a 2-bedroom apartment in NYC’s Upper West Side for a month
  • 3 team dresses = LASIK surgery for my left eye
  • Wigs & Crowns = Tiffany necklace
  • Soft shoes, hard shoes and poodle socks = 27 inch iMac
  • Private lessons (really stupid since we pay an arm and a leg for tuition) = a full body massage
  • 7 years going to Regionals = A 2.5 week trip for two to Hawaii
  • Going to Worlds once (secretly hoping it stays that way) = LASIK surgery for my right eye
  • 14 years of local competitions = One master bathroom renovation
  • Dress alterations = full body massage PLUS facial & manicure
  • 1 happy kid = Priceless or I have to have my head examined, whichever way you want to look at it

When I signed her up, I had no idea what was coming.  Not one person warned me that it would turn into a 4 class a week, competition led sport.  Not ONE!

To add insult to injury the kid loves it.  She dances around the house all day, all night.  Down the hallway, in the shower, during dinner.  If you ever run into us at the mall, you probably will catch a performance.  Rally one, Rally two.  AAAAHHHHH!!!!!!

So, instead of a trip around the world TWICE, I get to sit at competitions all day long.  Who can relate in one form or another? Let’s see, 3 years, 4 months and 21 days until our money is ours again.  Oh wait.  I forgot about college.  Never mind.