December 24, 2013

Daughter's Life Lessons

Gillian has been given the gift of dance. Watching my 4 year old prancing around clumsily turning into a graceful ballerina has been a beautiful journey. I sometimes kick myself as I can't believe how graceful she is and that she has that "package", i.e the hands and head gracefulness.  Will she one day be a professional, I don't know. I am still wondering and praying what will her path be.

Her recent stint with Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker has been an eye opener for this 13 year old.  Both dancewise and personalwise.

A girl in the opposite cast who would be her alternate and v.v, had injured her shin, when we found out we had to do 2 performance a day, Gillian learnt what this meant to a dancer in the performing world.  Her teachers were high five-ing her, but this 13 y/o who is naive and innocent wondered why, here she was "huh, my friend is injured, why are you giving me a high five".  Only then did she learn that to a performer, if someone is injured, you get to dance more!

Being older and in junior high, she learnt how important it was to juggle homework and dance rehearsals and performance.  Some nights, she was forced to do homework until 12.30 am.  Walking tired, sitting for test and then driving 45 into Chicago at 4.30 to perform and hit the road back at 9.30 to again complete homework assignments.  You think she won't do this again, NO NO, she wants to do it again next year.

Another eye opening thing for her, is the people that supports her and comes watch her dance.  She understands that the tickets are expensive and her time on stage as a children's cast is not much.  But she is only human and to know that her relatives didn't come watch her this year, still stings.  She was over the moon when a few friends from Church came to watch and proud when her dance teacher, Mrs King came with her daughter.  A few weeks ago, she did ask me why we go watch her dance friends when they perform. She is 13 and starting to not tell me everything, but I suspect its because none of her dance friends have plans to watch her nor have watched her.

As much as you want to cushion her from any negative thoughts and feelings, we can't. I'm trying to teach her that with friends and family comes ups and downs.  Telling her that this doesn't matter because what is important is that she got to dance with the professional dancers and she got to make new friends with other children cast. Trying to tell her that we have to let this wash over us and not be too sensitive.  What I want is a happy, easy going child.  Its her path that she has to walk and I as a mom watch her walk and hopefully catch her if she falls.

Maybe the subject is wrong, its also a mom's journey of watching her daughter's life lesson.



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