Monday, June 2, 2014

The Dance of a Lifetime

Sunday, June 1st, saw what may have been the end of an era: my daughter's last dance recital.  

It doesn't seem like that long ago when as a pre-schooler, Miranda began attending The Little Gym which provides classes for young children in gymnastics and dance. After a few years there, she decided she wanted to focus more on dance than gym so we enrolled her in a local and well recommended dance instruction institution, Nan's School of Dance.  My daughter was enrolled with Nan's for 6 years, 6 years of progressively more expensive tap, jazz and ballet shoes as well as leotards and tights, and classes which ate up not only more money but also time. Now, don't get me wrong. It was an expenditure of time and resources we were capable of making and were prepared to do so as long as Miranda was getting something out of it. 

But she, in her own special wisdom, realized the limits of what she could do. Parents have the job of encouraging our children to reach to push towards their limits but with the proviso of not breaking the child in the process of breaking those limits. In the case of my girl, I had been aware for awhile that Miranda had reached a sort of plateau when it came to dancing. Maybe I'm biased but I think she is quite good at jazz, ballet and tap. But in all objective fairness, I could see the growing divide between two groups of girls. There were those for whom dance was fun and others for whom dance was important. And as the girls got older and more was expected of them, those who were in it just for the fun of it weren't finding it to be as much fun. For those who saw dance as important, this was a group of girls who found they had a real talent, a strong aptitude and an unrelenting passion for dance. My daughter did not find herself among the latter group. So she thinks, yeah, it's probably time to bring this in for a landing.  

With this in mind, I watched Sunday's proceedings with no small amount of nostalgia and even a tinge of regret. After all, there is no more painful time for a parent to face the reality that their little girl or boy is not so little after all. And there are more of those moments to come and they will come too swiftly, one after another, until my daughter is fully grown and gone. 

Miranda, I hope, will look upon her time in dance as a good thing. It's been hard for her lately as she came to grips with her future in dance class and the struggles to improve. But overall, it has been a good experience for her, a chance to make new friends and learn just what she is capable of.  

I will give her one major kudo when it came to dance recitals: she did SOMETHING. There are some of the kids, the very little ones, who toddle out on stage and then... stand there. Can you imagine paying money for dance class, shoes and outfits, driving your child every week, hot or cold weather, rain or shine to dance class. And after nearly a year of expending time and money, watching your child come out for the big moment she's been preparing for... and do nothing, just stand there. 

So thank you, my precious girl, for never, ever doing that. 

You may think your moves were not perfect but you moved. And you did it beautifully, as you have since the day you were born and danced your way into my heart. Dance classes may be over but the dance goes on. It is the dance of a lifetime.  

I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

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