The third circle of hell.

I’ll cut right to the chase. It’s the rehearsal for dance recitals. That’s where you go when you’re a bad person. Purgatory looks like Disneyland after an evening of whistles, shrill screaming and 1,800 varieties of cheap perfume battling it out to be the cause of your migraine. If you’re one of the rare few that haven’t tasted hairspray for 4 hours straight, let me shine a light on the worst of times.

I have searched out the nicest dance instructor within 40 miles. Miss Glitter is kind, loving, beautiful and graceful. The Dumpling counts down the seconds until dance each week, and it culminated in the grand Christmas recital last night. Being a single parent with an out-of-state ex means that I don’t get to skip any of this fun time. Not all instructors are created equal. The Troll we partner with for recitals is the worst of the worst. She screams at the kids. She says horrible, shitty things. I’m coming for her…don’t worry.

I would give all the money in the world to skip the rehearsal. Yes that’s an offer. Some of my friends and family read this. Take. My. Money.

Sadly, nobody wants your money when it comes to enduring this bucket of suck. I took headphones and the ipad. Ready to fire up my hotspot and check out for an hour.

Yeah. Fucking. Right.

The Troll is screeching so loudly that she’s overcome the extremely expensive headphones I have crammed into my irritated ears. She’s telling 8 year olds that they suck and to get off the stage. She comes dangerously close to my Dumpling and I start to walk towards the stage with murder in mind. She goes away and I return to my seat, simmering.

Parenting in your 40’s is so much more relaxing than it is in your 20’s, but if it’s one thing that doesn’t change, it’s that instinct to rip someone’s limbs off for coming anywhere near your child in anger. I shot the Troll an ice cold stare, letting her know that if she knew what was good for her, she’d climb right back under that bridge of hers.

She didn’t.

Now I need to take a moment and shine a little spotlight on every woman’s ego. We all have our beautiful moments, and our less than shining days. Sometimes you’re the belle of the ball, and other times you are the supporting cast. That’s life. It’s graceful to accept time changing and your body aging. It’s beautiful to embrace how the years affect you. I don’t begrudge my wrinkles, I look back fondly on the laughs and tears that put them there. I’m not ruling out Botox, but I’m not wearing my daughters’ clothes and hitting on 22 year olds, either. It’s important to know your place in the food chain and the Troll is the female equivalent to a dirty old man. When you’re a grandmother, it’s time to keep your slutty santa dress behind closed doors. Your day on the stage with bouncing titties, is over. Please, for the love of God and the audience. LET IT THE FUCK GO.

I wasn’t a dancer. I was a cheerleader. I’m fun, loud and unruly. I am not the one to piss off if applause is on the table. The Troll says something nasty and cruel to Miss Glitter, every single recital. Every one. Last time she asked her if she made her shirt from an old woman’s bedspread. To say there were a lot of shocked, wide eyes in the audience, is an epic understatement. Too bad I don’t do shocked silence very well, because the rehearsal is setting my blood on fire.

I have tapping ringing in my ears. There are a dozen babies crying in unison. There’s a sequined child hanging on the back of my chair, coughing up a lung. Her mother is coughing beside her. I’m about to snap.

The Dumpling comes running up in blue sequins, shining like a star on fire and beaming her million dollar smile at me.

D- I love dancing on the stage, mama. I wish we danced on the stage every day.

Sigh… guess who’s going to be spending the next 13+ years in this same seat? Which is precisely when I decided to have a few words with the Troll. If I’m going to suffer, so is she. I’m all about equal opportunity these days.

I walked my little Dumpling and Baby Sparkle backstage and ran into the Troll, who made the dangerous decision to try to confront me.

T- What do you need. Why are you back here.

J- I don’t need anything from you. We’re finding our Miss Glitter.

T- Glitter? She’s hiding downstairs.

Simmer, simmer, simmer….. BOIL.

J- Hiding? Miss Glitter is lovely, she has no need to hide. We love our Miss Glitter so much, let’s go see her and tell her how grateful we are for her. Tis the season to be humble and give thanks, right Troll?

She didn’t say another word and I didn’t tell her to go fuck herself in front of the babies. Win-win.

Also… she didn’t insult Miss Glitter last night. Not entirely or directly at least… and that is gift enough for me this holiday season.

I’d tell you to buy your kid a pony and steer clear of dance, but there is so much magic in all that tulle and sparkle that I wish I could share it with everyone. It’s worth suffering through all the Trolls… and in this scary world, that’s priceless. ♥

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