Orange Parenting: Syracuse Stalker Mom

The girls who innocently started my Syracuse Stalking adventure.

I totally didn't plan for this to happen, but I'm going to tell you an Orange Parenting story and let you be the judge of how much of a Syracuse Athletics stalker I really am.

Back in June, Paul and I took the kids to an event at Drumlins called SU Legends and Stars. It was a fundraiser that promised to have athletes, coaches, food, and activities to do with the kids. Though everyone involved was very friendly about modifying their "How fast is your lacrosse shot?" type activities for our 3 and 4-year-old Little Oranges, the girls weren't overly thrilled with the event.

That is, until some dancers who weren't much older than they are took the stage. I should have known that a preschool girl can relate more to an six-year-old in a sparkly leotard dancing to pop music than to a 250 lb. 20-year-old with a line of adults waiting to talk to him. Especially Reese watched intently and cheered for an encore. For Reese's entire life (of, ahem, 3 years), I've noticed that she's been interested in music and dance, so I saw an opportunity to get her some lessons.

After the performance, I found one of the dancers and said, "Great job! Who is your teacher?" She shyly replied, "Miss Nicole." (Anyone see where this is going yet?) So I asked this little girl's mom if Miss Nicole was there, and was soon introduced to dance instructor, Nicole Gait.

I must've hidden my inner stalker pretty well during that brief conversation, as Miss Nicole ended up telling me all about the ballet class for 3-4's that she teaches in her own home in Fayetteville. She said that she'd start her new classes in September and she gets in touch with parents about a month in advance with details. We found a scrap of paper in one of our purses, borrowed a Sharpie from Jeremi Wilkes at the autograph table, and she took Reese's name and my number. Then I got to hold my breath all summer waiting for the call.

I was kind of thinking the whole thing wasn't going to happen. I mean, I didn't get her number and Google didn't have any information about a Gait dance school in Fayetteville. But then I was having a normal Moms-at-a-playdate conversation with my friend (but non-sports fan) Andrea. She said, "I'm thinking of starting [my daughter] in a ballet class this fall. Another mom at her preschool gave me the number for someone named Nicole Gates who teaches in her home." When I said that Reese is totally up for ballet, too, Andrea shared that number with me. (I can't remember if I corrected her on the name or not.)

So in mid-August, I entered true stalker territory and called Nicole Gait. My opening line to her was, "I was afraid you may have lost my number, but I got yours from my friend Andrea. I'm calling to see if you still have space in your ballet class for my 3-year-old." Again, she didn't pick up on my psycho side and she gave me all of the info I needed.

That all leads up to today. This afternoon, I sat on the first floor of the Gait home, chatting with my friend Andrea, while our daughters, in their uniform black leotards and pink tights, learned how to do plies upstairs.

I do want to respect the Gaits' privacy here, and I really don't know much more than I've written, but I have to relay one more bit of this story. Andrea is not only uninterested in sports, she is also new to the Syracuse area. While we were sitting there, she said, "My realtor asked me to tell her about this house. Is Nicole's husband pretty important at SU?" I smiled and tried to calmly explain that not only is he the head women's lacrosse coach, but he has a famous lacrosse move named after him. And I was in his house today.

Are you ready to quit your day job, adopt a 3-year-old girl, and join me on my Syracuse Stalker Parent adventures?

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