Although my recent posts have all been about autism and the challenges we are facing, we do have two other children as well. Our daughter at who 10 years old is a competitive dancer who is more graceful than I will ever be. When I say grace I do mean physical grace (I’m clumsy enough to fall into a half empty pool in winter, but that’s a story for another day 🙂 but I also mean that she has an emotional grace, handling peer-to-peer situations with grace and respect in a manner that I never could have achieved at her age.
A couple of weeks ago she showed her emotional grace in a way I hadn’t foreseen.
This is her third year of dancing competitively. Her first year, she was in two group routines. Last year she was invited to three group routines. This year we were thrilled for her to be invited to be in five group routines. Our pocketbooks didn’t share much of that joy, but that is a choice we made.
Before I go any further, anyone who thinks that I am a “dance mom” aka the horrible show on lifetime, please get over that. Our daughter chose dance (frankly I always pictured myself as a soccer mom) and chose to do competitive. We do not push her, though maybe we should have a bit.
You see, the envelopes indicating the small group, duets and solos that dancers were invited to came out a few weeks ago.
Our daughter was devastated to not receive one. She expected that this would be her year for a duet. I thought she was on track for it too, though I wasn’t positive.
Our studio is adamant that they won’t push a dancer beyond their abilities. Judges at competitions can be downright mean, and there is no point subjecting a young dancer to that nastiness.
So, when I walked my sobbing daughter to the owner of the studio to talk about it, she was met with a gentle yet firm answer: Watch your posture and be consistent.
That night there was lots of talking about it and why it had to happen to her. I felt awful for her that night. My poor baby. I of course had mommy guilt for not pushing her harder, though hubby did point out that had I tried, she would have pushed back and likely not done it. This way, he said, she would really learn her lesson about hard work. Sigh. What a way to learn that lesson.
The next morning she was quiet, so I didn’t ask her much. In fact it wasn’t until we were in the van after school heading to dance that she told me she had made up her mind. Oh? I asked wondering, as parents are known to do, just what I was about to hear.
“I’m going to make them realize that they made a mistake!” she said with determination. That’s my girl! She had her cry, thought about how to fix the issue and realized that she will have to prove herself. I’m proud that it’s her choice and not something I’ve pushed her to do. By giving her that space, I think and hope, that she will have learned the value of work ethic and not have to keep learning it over and over.
And by choosing not to wallow in her sadness, but to turn it into a positive effort to change, at ten she has shown an emotional grace that many adults are incapable of.
That’s my girl.