Laughter. Tears. Gossip. Advice. Stories.
More laughter. Always…more laughter. And stories. Stories galore.
These are the benefits I’ve enjoyed since my daughter returned to our empty nest.
Because she spent her teen years totally devoted to training for a career in dance, I missed what most moms experience with their daughters. The conservatory she attended had no proms, no homecoming games. The handful of boys could not have met the social needs of the predominantly female private school.
As far as my husband was concerned, it was as though our daughter was safely tucked away in some convent. No guys…no problems.
I was fortunate enough to be with my daughter the first 2 1/2 years she spent training with Atlanta Ballet in Georgia. Having seen her in their summer program, she was encouraged to return to them during what would have been her senior year. It was a time of tumult…professionally and personally. Normalcy was at a premium. Everything revolved around dance.
Parenting a wannabe ballerina must closely resemble grooming an Olympic ice skater. You do what you can to help your child succeed. Even in the face of adversity and rejection, you remain positive, offering whatever support you can to help sustain the dream.
A career in the performing arts matures kids…fast. Not only must they deal with who they are becoming physically, but they must also be open to adapting their appearance to their job description. Even if they have to “read between the lines.” Because you know it’s not going to say…”You need to be a waif, or else.”
Beyond the physical, dance hopefuls must conduct themselves like adults. Be respectful. Be on time. Be prepared. Be responsive to correction. Be adept at learning choreography, and remembering roles learned in back-to-back rehearsals for a couple of different productions. Be competitive…while being a team member. Be responsible for themselves…in all ways.
I know middle-aged adults who don’t have half the life skills my daughter has acquired during the 11 years she has been in the professional dance environment. At 27, she could conduct a class in…how to get the most out of life…with a whole lot of passion…and not a lot of money.
So you see, I’m learning how to strive while being contented, from my own personal YODA…my daughter…my hero…
…my bff…best friends forever…