My very first round as a dance mom, I attended the dress rehearsal. My now teenage daughter was five, and her group was supposed to be fairies. They wore green and pink stretchy velvet dresses, flower wreaths and gauzy wings (the costumes were sluttier in subsequent years; these were actually pretty sweet). The choreography included flitting about and tumbling. Their fifteen minutes of fame was compressed into about three.
Another mother sitting behind me in the auditorium tapped me on the shoulder. "Your money at work," she said, gesturing to the stage.
These days, dance school is but a distant sequined memory. Our daughter is all about the horses and the entire household must follow suit. For three years, she attended equestrian camps ("your money at work"). This year, she went away to a renowned horsemanship clinic in Vermont. It was only ten days but there was much expense entailed: trailering the pony up and back, the program fees, new equipment, room and board with a host family, a weekend at a B&B for my husband and me at the end.
We dropped her off the last Saturday in June. As always when my daughter is away, I missed her terribly. But, the week went by pretty quickly with work and the 4th of July. Before we knew it, we were driving back up. We visited the facility on Saturday for a three-phase event (dressage, stadium jumping, cross-country), did some sightseeing Sunday, and Monday, picked her up and brought her home.
Since cell phone service was sketchy at best (and my daughter had more fun things to do than call us when it did work), we had a lot of catching up to do. Here's a quick rundown of her experience:
• 1 sixth place ribbon• 2 intensive riding lessons each day
• 6 hours of barn chores each day
• 3 demerits for not cleaning her saddle well enough• 1 rope swing into the Ottauquechee river
• 7 nighttime bike rides (without a helmet)
• 5 new BFFs
• 4 chicken caesar wraps
• 2 sunburns
• 10 mosquito bites
• 1 spider bite (we think)
• .5 showers per day (don't ask)
• 0 letters home
• 13 horse-crazy roommates
• 56 ounces of Starburst candies
"Your money at work."
The equine experience of a lifetime? I have no idea what we spent, but suffice it to say, it was not inconsequential.
Having my daughter home again, happy and in one piece? Priceless.