I remember bringing my daughter to her very first dance class. She was 18 months old, and I was pregnant with her little brother. We wanted to get her involved in something, and a parent-and-me summer ballet class seemed perfect for my little girl, who loved to dance around the house. The following fall, we decided she would do well in a Tiny Tots class with me watching from the viewing area, and it was very helpful for her to have something that was hers as we welcomed a new baby. She will perform in her fifth dance recital in a couple of days.
My seven-year-old daughter cannot be any more opposite of me personality-wise, and I do see this as a good thing. She is strong-willed, brave, smart, and so well-rounded. She is into fashion and make-up, and I have spent hours watching tutorials for the hairstyles she requests. I have always been the type of person who likes to fade into the background while she enjoys the spotlight. And, because of this, we butt heads a lot.
But, recently, at professional development, we were asked to answer a question that we only had a couple of seconds to look at with the thought that first came into our mind. My question was, “What brings you joy?” Without skipping a beat and with no doubts in my mind, the answer was so easy for me.
Something in her changed this year; I believe it is part of her nature, part of seeing the benefits of working hard, part of the amazing teacher she has been with for two dance seasons, and her love for dancing developing as she gets older. This year, my daughter excitedly awaits Mondays. She also asked us to buy her a ballet barre for her birthday. She practices every day at home, and she asked to audition for the studio’s Company, the competition team.
Until this year, dance was just a fun hobby that was completely separate from anything her brothers do. Over the past couple of months, it became something she and I connected over.
Watching her brings me somewhere else. I forget everything and get lost in her watching her grow, thrive, and truly be happy. A month ago, we attended a showcase together and watched five hours of dance. I could not pull her away.
As I think about the transition we will make this summer as she becomes a member of the Company, I cannot help but think that she is a confident girl who stands up for herself and others.