So, I've been having a crummy string of luck.3 weeks ago I couldn't go to my schools Holiday Ceili, cause I was sick, 2 weeks ago, I crashed my car and couldn't make it to class that week. The week after, classes were closed due to a giant snow storm. Missing class 2 weeks in a row = AGONY! Missing the ceili just adds insult to injury!
But then came a parents meeting/costume exchange/merchandise night at school. Desperate to just get out the house, and because I am trying to be the best I can at being responsible self-parenting dancer, I went. Got there mad early and that old familiar friend of social awkwardness and feeling of displacement settled in quick.
I knew NO ONE there. Remember, I haven't been very social since starting class again, and it didn't help that none of the other adult students were there. The place was swarming with kids, waiting patiently for their parents, but occasionaly tossing glances at me, assumbly trying to figure out who I was and why I was there. At least, thats how it felt at the time. Now, I'm pretty sure that a flock of 6-9 year olds don't really care about much outside of their DVD and their practicing of dance steps.
So, the meeting for the Advanced Beginers starts. Just like I'm back in High school, I park it third row from the back to not draw attention (last row makes you stick out, and front row puts you directly in line of sight). The meeting, while not unimportant, consists mainly of reminding parents to make sure kids knot laces tightly enough, and to not drop the munchkins off late for class. While people still make fun of me for doing double bunny ears instead of a single loop, I think I've got double knotting my shoes down pretty well, thanks.
Just as the meeting is almost at an end, one of the new girls in my class scurries in and back to the area where our shoe/wig/lovely goodness retailer has set up shop. We smile and wave discreetly, so as not to disrupt the TC, and I breath a small sigh of relief. At least I'm not the only one there without a small squadron of children in tow.
After the meeting closing of a standard "no jeans to be warn to class" reminder, I too make my way to the other half of the studio, where things feel less like home room, and more like theater week. My friend is in the corner, trying on her first pair of real ghillies - bless! - and looks just as confused as anyone would when trying to figure out why that is supposed to be the right size when you can barely shove your foot into it. We chit-chat, express out gladness that there is someone else there that we know, and I give her what small advice I can on how shoes fit, etc. But, my main reason to attend that night was to pick up some practice music, socks and gaff tape from the vendor and suss out what I was doing about a costume.
After spending far more money then I really should have (2 new cds, a lovely soft new pair of poodles, and a feck-off big roll of gaff tape later), I start to wander towards the "costume exchange" section of the room.
Thank God! My class's teacher is behind the stage-sized table, covered in ruffly blue skirts, switching one out for others in different sizes and making sure girl's buts are covered. Once she gets a moment, I cut in line and after perfunctory hellos and "sorry I've missed class" pleasantries, I ask her the fated question. Do I get to wear the same beginer's school outfit as all the other Advance Beginers, or am I permanantly resigned to the simple black A-line, just cause I'm over the age of 18? Her answer was simple, "whatever you want". Apparently it was just that easy. Her logic was if I plan on doing alot of the performances, parades and what-not, it makes more sense for me to be dressed like everyone else, unless I don't feel comfortable in a shortish blue ruffly skirt. When I told her that I planed on doing all that and lots of competitions, she practically skipped for joy! Have I mentioned that I LOVE my dance school.
Anyhoo, with the WHAT sorted out, I head down to the table the booster club ladies have set up to handle all costume payments and such. I get to chit chatting - awkwardly at first, as this is ME after all - and after going over rental costs and stuff, they highly recommend I get both the skirt and order the leotard today, so that way I have everything in time for St. Paddy's day. They also highly recommend the school colours headband.
Well, one down side to being an adult is that I don't have a parent to go run to and pull a shuppy lip on to ask for the $5 dollars to buy the head band. The way this works is you just add the five bucks into the costume rental fee. While I ran to The Boy earlier that week to make sure that we had enough for the costume rental, I had no idea that the headbands were going to be available that night too, so we had planned accordingly and got a money order for just the right amount for the outfit, not the acsessories. Finally, after finding a skirt that fit, and getting measured for a leotard (still not sure about that to be honset) and getting suckered into volunteering to help out with the rest of the costume sizing and sorting, I went back with my paperwork, to surrender up my money order to the booster club. When one of the kind ladies there made mention of the fact that I was just getting the outfit, no headband, I shrugged it off nonchalantly and casually explained that we had budgeted precisely for the costume, and I had already gone over the budget with the socks/music/gaff tape purchase, so i would have to purchase one later down the road. The smiled and nodded sympathetically, and that seemed like that.
Ducking outside for a quick second to wake up the boy - again - and tell him I'd be later getting home, I am surprised when, not a few minutes into my call, one of the other students - younger then me, in her teens, pretty sure close to if not already well into prelims, with whom I've never spoken a word in my life - comes running out with a big smile on her face, and a headband in hand.
Seeing I'm on the phone, she quietly hands it too me and says that someone bought it for me. Confused, my responses was something as articulate as "huh?" She smiles again, and says the one lady I was talking to decided to get it for me, since I couldn't, so I would have the whole outfit. At this point I am ignoring The Boy on the other end of the phone, who's cranky with me for waking him up. Much to the girl's amusement, I ask her once again to repeat, and after she finishes the story once more, I am left without words. I stammer out something along the lines of "wow. thanks. really? wow. thanks" I ask her who it was, so I may go thank them in person and she just smiles more, and says the person doesn't want me to know who it was.
This has left me floored. Now, four days later, I'm still getting misty eyed over it. Such a little thing, but such a big thing. What, sweet, unpretentious kindness. The cynics amoungst us say "it was only $5", but thats not the point. It's the value, not the cost that is important. Someone, out of the kindness of their heart decided to buy something for me, ME, a complete stranger, just so I would feel included and like I belonged. All of a sudden the whole night changed. I was running errands for the poor frazzled teachers, and standing around chewing the fat with people like it was nothing.
It's funny sometimes. I think God sort of used me that night to help the new girl feel less overwhelmed (despite the fact that I myself felt just as much so) and he blessed me for it many times more. Its funny, because it wasn't even something I had thought I'd miss. Just a head band, I could do up my hair without it, it hardly was nessicary, I'd pick one up later - it never crossed my mind that the costume wouldn't feel right with out it. But I am sure, that if I had gotten home and that wonderful person who made me fall even more in love with Irish Dance HADN'T performed that small kindness for me, I wouldn't have been nearly as excited. I wouldn't have put the whole outfit on again and again since then, tearing up and down my flat's hall, terrifying the cats.
So, whichever of the wonderful ladies it was who, without thinking, gave such a gift to me - I only hope I someday either get to repay the favor direct to you, or at least sometime, pass it on. It meant the world to me. Thank you.