i hope you dance…

Early this morning, 4:30 a.m. to be exact, my husband drove our daughter to the airport for her flight to Toronto at 6:55 a.m. She’s off on a whirlwind tour of job auditions. After a couple of days in Canada, she heads to Chicago for a week of dance classes at a prominent studio where she will also audition for a position with the resident company. From there she heads to Atlanta where she’ll take classes with a company with whom she might want to work.

There’s a sign hanging in our dining room which reads I Hope You Dance. It’s occupied the same space for quite some time. Regardless of the changing decor to suit the seasons, that sign stays put. It reminds me, and my daughter, that as long as she has a passion for her art my husband and I will do everything we can to support her. 

It takes a lot on all our parts for my daughter to realize all she desires with respect to her profession. She must continually hone her talent and skills; and we, her parents, must be willing to pick up the slack financially. As long as she continues to draw the attention of people at the top in dance, we feel she has a shot at doing what she wants, where she wants, for as long as she wants. Because of our faith in her, we’re willing to forgo luxuries for ourselves in order to sustain our daughter’s dream of dancing until her body gives out or her passion for performing wanes.

What greater gift can we give ourselves than to have our daughter push past obstacles time and again to occupy the place God meant her to have on His earth?

Since neither of us was born into the lap of luxury, my being the youngest of 9 and my husband being the eldest of 12, we want for very little as adults. The fact that our daughter blest our marriage after 16 years is a miracle for which we have never ceased being grateful. That we can celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is a gift that keeps on giving.

As any parent of an athlete intent upon making his or her sport a lifetime commitment will tell you…it ain’t easy. I talk to myself, a lot. I argue both sides of every issue. Of course I’m always prejudiced in favor of my daughter. What parent isn’t? Nevertheless I also look at the greater picture and I never, ever ignore reality. At the same time, I choose my words carefully so as not to snuff out the flame that burns within my daughter’s heart for what she loves. And I always remember that she’s an adult, almost 28. She must live her own life. If my husband and I support her endeavors it’s a choice we make freely…no strings attached. Ever.

The greatest lesson I learned as a result of both my mother’s and my mother-in-law’s parenting is to never expect anything in return for what I give my daughter freely and willingly.

My mom’s love came with an entire flotilla of spider webs; my mother-in-law’s love welcomed me back time and again like a sparkling, refreshing fountain from which I could drink whenever I thirsted.

My daughter probably saw both tutus (Hawaiian for “grandma”) a little more than a handful of times. Her fondest memories are of my mother-in-law. Of my own mom, my daughter retains sketchy remembrances of a depressed, frustrated old woman.

Because my mom was all I had growing up, my love for her cannot be severed. She and I shared one another’s lives the longest, most of my older brothers and sisters having left home while still young to make their own way in the world. So while I don’t condone how I was raised, I don’t fault my mom for doing what she needed to survive after my dad died. I only knew that my own daughter was going to go her own way with all the love and support I could muster.

And whatever she does with her own life……is for her to keep…or share as she sees fit. Knowing her as well as I do, I’m certain…

…she’ll always share her life and her God-given gifts…without reservation…


...one of my favorite shots of my precious daughter...by martin o'connor photography

…one of my favorite shots of my precious daughter…by martin o’connor photography

18 thoughts on “i hope you dance…

    • You’re one of the nicest persons I’m fortunate to know, Claudia. And I’m delighted that we share the same sensitivities and values…and cheeky humor. Lots of hugs and aloha flying your way… 😆


  1. Hugmamma, I love you. You are a very special woman and mother. My heart feels for you, your husband and your gracious and elegant daughter. Your brave and hard working girl who can live her dream because of you. I salute you, my friend.
    Knuffel ( < Dutch hug),


    • I love you back, Marion. You’re such a dear, dear friend. I hope someday we can meet…or at the very least…that my daughter can meet you in her travels to Europe to dance. She did try to audition with a company in Rotterdam, but never heard back after sending them her resume and dance photos. She did, however, recently go to Nuremberg to audition with the Staatstheatre Nurenberg Ballett. Out of 94 who auditioned, she got past the first cut…down to 12…but was not one of the two chosen. My daughter did have a splendid time visiting the city and then went on to visit a dancer friend in Augsburg. You’ve made my day…6 a.m. here…got up to feed my daughter’s cat, Misha, and my own two kitties, Sitka and Juneau. No rest for moms, right? ha, ha. Lots of aloha (Hawaiian Island hugs) from me to you, Marion. And I hope your day is sunny and warm…like you. 😆


      • Good morning, dearest M. 😀
        Sunny it is, warm it’s not. So I’m hugging my warm (lactose free) chocolate milk and turn up the heater.
        I’d love to see your daughter dance one day! Does she have a performance on YouTube perhaps?
        Your daughter left – my son returned home after staying with his girlfriend in the United Kingdom for a month. He left rather unexpectedly… long story. He will leave again this Thursday, planning on staying there and making his life with his love. We will see. He’s only 19.
        But those worries are for another time. Today is a day to celebrate our reunion. And soon you can hug your precious one again. xx


        • I empathize completely with your situation. But, as you say, enjoy the time you have so you’ll have no regrets later. Somehow our children find their way in and out of choices. We did at their age. Of course I can’t remember how…it was sooo long ago. The best we can do for our offspring is assure them they are loved, and that we are their safe haven whenever they’re in need of one. I’ll bet you talk to yourself like I do…about parenting, I mean. My hubby doesn’t worry like I do which is a good thing. He’s the rock in our family. I’m like the pebble that keeps skipping along the water’s surface making ever-widening circles…trying to do everything, be everywhere, and touch as many lives before my time is up. And I’m glad you and I have made that connection, girlfriend. hugs…


          • Keep on skipping, touching many lives, Hugmamma, because your touch spreads joy and gives confidence.

            Like you I worry about the lost two years (he stopped his study at the university last year, and this year he stopped his college education), but we can’t force our children. They have to find their own way.

            I wrote this poem for Sean: http://drieskewrites.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/hopes-dreams-and-byways/ – just a week before he left – and I just know that you will understand.

            Hugs right back at you!


            • I reblogged your poem because it describes so beautifully a mother’s hope and heartache all rolled into one. Knowing that other moms share the same feelings can help assuage our heart palpitations…at least for a time. You keep warm, Dutchess… 🙂


    • Thanks, Lisa. Having my daughter with us for several months has been fabulous. We have such a good time together, whether we’re out and about or just home doing chores or watching some old movie on TV. We laugh and laugh and laugh. And you’re right. Even when she’s gone for a week or two doing auditions, I miss her smile, her voice, her advice, her help. At the same time, I want for her to have her own life apart from me and my husband. And dance is her life. Hugs for the comment re my mom and mother-in-law. The words came easily from the heart…


  2. Firstly your daughter is lovely. Secondly your thoughts on being a mother are spot on. Their can be no cost for what we give our children…it must be freely and with no encumbrances given…how wise you are to see that


    • Wisdom learned over many decades and as a result of personal heartache growing up. Making the best of circumstances, however, is what living’s all about. I’m fortunate I’ve had the time and the support of loved ones, unlike my mom. hugs…


  3. Oh my goodness..how exciting! I have loved dance since I was a child and I did not have support. It was not meant for a career, just for appreciation and the joy of movement. May all her dreams come true and God bless you for your continued support in her dancing endeavors! Keep us updated!


hugs for sharing some brief thoughts...and keeping them positive

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