Don’t Mess With My Tutu

Things here in Dogwood Girl world have been a little wild lately. This whole year has been a roller coaster, but the commencement of school has really amped up our schedules. Oddly, though, in the midst of all of the rushing around to practices and stores to find shoes and helmets and gloves and bats and tutus, there have been these wonderful moments where I am struck by deja vu. I have been here before. I have felt this joy. Parenting is funny like that: You reach a milestone in your child’s life, and it brings you back instantly to that time in your own childhood.

Tiller started ballet last Thursday. She takes it at the rec center here in town. The minute I walked in there, I was rushed back to the old rec center at Wills Park in Alpharetta, the one next to the awesome wooden playground thingie – the ultradangerous one, with a bridge that went over a creek and lots of holes high up on the structure for little kids to fall out of. We never did. We also never injured ourselves on that fast merry-go-round; we just went faster and faster, squealing our guts out. Pretty sure those are gone now, replaced by some safer, more plastic, less wood and metal playground, with sustainable mulch or some such crap underneath it. I used to take baton twirling there at the rec center. I think it was maybe only one room, with some public restrooms. As soon as I walked in the dance room, i was brought back. Tutus and tights and little black patent leather tap shoes with ribbon laces. Pale pink ballet slippers.

I had been told that Tiller should ‘wear something comfortable” that first day. She had on shorts and a t-shirt. All of the other little girls wore tutus and had their hair in ponytails or buns. Most of them had their own shoes.

Ballerina Parent Fail.

Tiller didn’t even notice, though. She doesn’t realize yet that her mother is a Bull in a China Shop who never took more than one year of Dance. I was hideous. To this day, my photos from that one year of ballet and tap, taken in a studio that I believe was in the upstairs over the Indian Trading Post toy store in downtown Alpharetta, right across from Milton High school, are still the most-commented-on of all of my childhood pictures. (They do not, however, compare to the still-much-discussed naked run around the parking lot photo from a college game of truth or dare gone awry.) People think they are hysterical. So, before someone leaks them, I will share them here on Dogwood Girl, for all the world to see.

This is me on the left end of this group. I want to say the girl next to me is Heather Flack. Not sure who the other sad girls are. . . . It appears that the red monstrosities are what you wear for tap. I can still feel the material these little numbers were made of . . . .


Okay, this next one is me in. . . I don’t know what this getup is. I think this was the ballet number. Because nothing says graceful ballet like a CountryBumpkinVaudevilleShowgirl costume. Who comes up with these? Nice lipstick, huh?


This is the one that people really dig. . . Look at that poof in my hair. Yes, that is mom’s attempt at giving me a Dorothy Hamill, but I have curly hair, and it never did work. See that polka dot trim? It itched like a motherfucker. Red lipstick on a five-year-old is classy.

1978ca_me 001

Now, this post is about how parenting reminds one of their own childhood. And one time that I was really struck by this was when I took the kids to Tucker Day last year. Tucker Day is for all the world just like I remember the Alpharetta Parade being. Tractors, and farmers, and bands, and groups like baseball teams and dancers. Yes, I believe that my dance troupe was in the parade, and I seem to remember wearing the above red and polka dot-trimmed outfit, while this next picture was being taken of my sister and my cousins, who lived right across the street from me back then. (Yes, I told you I was Southern. Southerners live across the street from their cousins, people!) Mom evidently parked the red Caprice Classic station wagon, with wood on the side, in the filling station parking lot near the Food Lion. (Food Giant? I get those confused.) The one on Hwy 9. She propped Graham, Adam, and Lisa up on the hood, and gave them a couple of bottles of Coke. Please note Lisa’s lionhead. (See also: The Lionhead Files.)


This next one is prompted by Rollie playing t-ball. This is my softball team. Before that, I played t-ball with a bunch of boys, and one other girl, Ashley Marvin. Now, I don’t remember exactly why i played t’ball with a bunch of boys. But this next picture is from a softball team I played on. We had an after season party at Ashley’s house. Ashley had an awesome old renovated house near Crabapple, and a pool. Also, please note our totally trippy 70’s-style Fulton Co. Parks and Rec shirts.


This final one is just one of my fave pics ever. It is of the spectators at one of my b-ball games. I guess it was when I played on the boys’ team, because my cousin’s mom is there. I LOVE this picture. The folks are sitting on the bleachers at Wills Park. I guess it is cold. Maybe my dad took the picture? My mom is standing to the left, in the plaid pants, smoking a cigarette. The blonde next to her is my cousin’s mom, Connie. That is Adam in her lap – I love that he is twirling his hair, like he always did at that age!.  To my Mom’s left is my sister, Lisa, sitting next to my Uncle Harry, a.,k. a Gran, my grandma Smith’s brother. His wife, Virginia, or Bubba as we called her, is sitting the next row back. You can almost make out her reddish hair. Would love to know who some of the other folks are.


Now we have the metal bleachers, but there is still that same feel at practices. I am looking forward to enjoying some of those after-game ice creams, and to watching my Tiller keep herself occupied around the field while Rollie plays this season.


  2 comments for “Don’t Mess With My Tutu

  1. Jason
    August 22, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    I have never seen that last picture – very cool. Now I know what Rollie lwould look like in a tutu.

  2. August 23, 2009 at 10:01 am

    I know, right? I need to dig up the pictures of my mom, where she is about the same age, and looks just like me AND Rollie.

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