Wednesday, June 2, 2021

An Ode to my Chloe Dancer (Day 153)

The origins of my second daughter's name are complicated. 

My name search began with my oldest daughter referring to the baby I was carrying as "Baby Cool." And while I was shopping around for a name her I asked my Australian colleagues for the popular names there and one colleague mentioned "Chloe."

I remember thinking of my favorite song--Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns by Mother Love Bone. Then I looked up the meaning of Chloe--and learned it means "to bloom."

I realized that my unnamed second daughter was absolutely, 100-percent a Chloe. 

Mike was totally on board.  And Lily was just 2 years old at the time, so we could easily transition her from Cool to Chloe. 

When Chloe was just about 18 months old, she would cry when Lily went into dance class. She'd only quiet down when I'd lift her up to peek through the one-way glass and see the dancing. I remember whispering in her ear: "Oh Chloe-Dancer, soon enough for you." 

I signed her up for "Tiny Triples" a year later. 

Chloe was the youngest girl in her class. At her first two recitals, she did not have enough hair to curl, so we resorted to the wiglet--a curly hair piece shipped to us from my mother-in-law in Texas. I still have those wiglets, tucked away, in a box and I really hope that one day my future grandchildren find them and wonder just what went on around here. 

(Everything goes on around here.)

Now, of course, Chloe has enough hair to share. She really, probably, has too much hair. I used a whole package of bobby pins tonight to hold up her bun. 

I always thought Chloe wanted to dance like her big sister. But, really, Chloe wanted to dance like Chloe. And it is such a marvelous thing to watch. We've had baby kick-lines with feather tu-tus and itsy-bitsy yellow polka-dot bikini dances on the Wildwood beaches.  She's danced in production with her sister, as a fork in Beauty and Beast. And she has picked her favorite classes--tap and gymnastics and ballet.

When she was in 2nd grade, Chloe broke her collar bone and was out of dance for 6 weeks. Chloe still went to every class and watched, waiting for her time to get back to it.  She was released from her sling and allowed back at dance 5 days before her recital. I remember watching her at dress rehearsal, holding my breath, while she twisted and bent and rotated into her backbend--and then, unexpectedly did a one-handed cartwheel (using her non-injured arm). She performed that one-handed move so well that I suspect she had been practicing while still under doctor's order to do just the opposite (nothing!). 

Watching her dance is this incredible gift. Like her sister, Chloe was born much too early--at 31 weeks. She was just over 3 lbs and so determined, even then, to be in charge of everything. Every time I see her tap or flip or leap, I think, wow, that is my Chloe Dancer, how did she come from me?

This year, Chloe demanded to be in the older girls tap class. I was a little hesitant--but she insisted. And she rocked it again--10 years later, the youngest girl up there. 

She's got two more shows tomorrow night--gymnastics and ballet--and I just can't wait to see my Chloe Dancer up on that stage again! 



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