As parents of dancers we are faced with challenging responsibilities as the end of the year performance approaches. Thankfully, these duties don’t involve anything remotely similar to actually dancing, but in my opinion, are equally intimating and difficult to accomplish. The tasks: the assembling of a costume, and the styling of a “ballet bun” in our dancer’s hair.
My abilities in both areas are woefully lacking.
My thumbs are opposable, in theory capable of performing tasks that nature deems possible and evolution has made achievable. But in practice, the thumbs, along with the hands and the fingers attached to them, have little more coordination than what is minimally required to flit about on a keyboard and hit the space bar every now and then.
Those farther along on the Martha Stewart scale of evolution are often referred to as Domestic Divas. Even though I don’t favour that particular designation, I do find it preferable to the infinitely more accurate, Domestic Dope.
My easiest task of the costume was sewing the skirt: I drove the fabric over to my mom’s, and she completed and returned it before I had summoned the courage to even look at the rest of the costume.
It was time to face my fears and get to work. I tentatively pulled each piece needed to assemble the costume accessories out of the bag. I gathered needles, thread, pins, glue gun and scissors. Taking stock of the bits that lay before me, I referred to the instructions written in an indecipherable foreign tongue.
I had borrowed sewing scissors that a friend assured me would make my task much easier. Like magic, she said, they would cut through all types of fabric, like a hot knife glides through butter.
My confidence soared as competence exuded from the weight of the scissors and I manoeuvred them around the simple shapes that had already been drawn. I was elated, and certain that if I was to purchase such a magnificent pair of shears, I could shed my clumsy crafter persona and be instantly transformed into a…domestic diva!
But as I moved onto a more complicated stage, my hands trembled with familiar, intense feelings of inadequacy. I was certain of nothing else but the fact that if I did spend a small fortune on a pair of “real” scissors, they would either be immediately lost, or misused to the point of ruin.
Eventually, my daughter’s costume was fully assembled and ready to wear. I had taken several “creative liberties” – I believe the official term is MacGyver-ed – which would become a recurring theme with the bun.
My idea of a hair style is a strategically placed barrette or hair band used to tame a dishevelled head of hair. My daughter knows that if she wants to wear her hair in any style more elaborate than “neatly brushed,” it’s best that she look elsewhere for help.
But this bun is my burden to bare, and my daughter is patient and appreciates (um, gets a kick out of) my efforts.
My hands know exactly what my brain and babble is instructing as I visualize the perfect do. But as I gather, tie, twist and twirl strands of hair, more re-emerges in a disorderly snarl.
With bobby pins and hairspray at the ready, brush in one hand and hair in the other, I continue to tuck and pin flowing tresses that I’m sure I had earlier restrained and sprayed into place.
Part of me actually enjoys the challenge of creating the perfect bun, but wonders, is there not an easier way?
Then, the other part of me remembers the scissors…