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Hustle And The Happiness
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As graduations in our area wrap up, my life and a handful of parents like me began living our own level of whirlwind this past week.

There was no championship game to prepare for, no monumental birthday celebration or any other major life event. Now, granted, many of us juggle multiple children with varying activities so these things may have happened simultaneously. This however is not what I’m addressing in this piece. No. Last week for us was what has become fondly known as ‘Recital’ week.

Before expounding further, I must share in complete honesty I am not a ‘Dance’ mom. I am equally happy to report, somehow we landed in a studio where the stereotypical ‘Dance’ mom is not so warmly received. The loving, accepting and supportive nature for which this studio was founded does not serve the likes and personality of the Diva Type, for lack of a better description.

Yes. Yes. I know the image this conjures up. There are reality shows made specifically around this type of being, because it is truly that entertaining.

I am not a past dancer or cheerleader turned journalist, who now lives vicariously through her daughter. I do, however, enjoy embarrassing her and watching her giggle as I dance along when she practices her Hip Hop routines at home, but that’s about it. “Oh, mommy!” followed by a face palm or “What!?! How did you learn that?” are not uncommon exclamations from my little dancer.

The discovery that mommy had a life and ‘did’ things before their birth, is always a good time in our household.

This past week our dancers were not only treated to an opportunity to do what they love with people they love, but they were able to do it on the stage at the Gallo Performing Arts Center.

Our one ‘little’ studio (Pointe of Dance), tucked away in a parking lot off Warnerville Road in Oakdale ventured out of the 95361 and embraced the opportunity which other dancers have enjoyed.

It was an opportunity not lost on my Hip Hopper. She has sat in the seats of this theater a number of times … being entertained. This trip to the Gallo however was different, it was her turn.

“This is a big deal mommy,” she’d repeat time and time again as we made the trek from Oakdale to Modesto many times last week. Convenience was no longer a luxury, which we’ve had for so many years. Yet, hearing those words kept me smiling and grateful that our Studio Director, Rachel Turnage opted to make the move.

Just as the Oakdale Mustangs football team had their moment at Levi’s Stadium in the fall, these Pointe of Dance dancers had theirs on the stage at the Gallo.

A studio which began as a dream and love of dance, in the garage of a passionate dancer, had grown to this. Over 200 dancers in all shapes, sizes and ages performing on a stage with their production name on the marquee.

Watching our Director take to the stage and address the parents during rehearsal, still gives me chills. As an old friend and former neighbor, I still remember many of these very dancers stumbling down her driveway as mini ballerinas. Now teens full of amazing talent and big dreams, doing what they love in a place which not only supports them but loves them.

Truthfully, for me and my dancer, it’s on a year to year basis. We finish what we start, but each summer we revisit if the interest still lies. Each year, we somehow return. Each year, she reminds me that she’s a Hip Hopper. And … each year, as we hustle through the rehearsals, dinner out of bags in the car and late nights to bed my heart is again filled with happiness.

What a gift. What a blessing. What a life.


Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.