My daughter, BG, dances. For her, it is really just about doing something fun. She does most of the options available to her, tap and jazz, but her favorite is ballet. Last year, she got to do pointe for the first time. I was thrilled for her, but found out quickly that, for her, it was probably way more work than what she wanted to put in for something that was just supposed to be fun. After about week 2, she came out of class in tears.
Now, both MC and BG are good at putting in the work for things that are super important to them and often come easy, which would be their grades at school, especially math, but anything else, they are really kind of lazy at. If it is work, they just don’t want to do it. I was a little worried that it was going to be a situation where she just gave up before really giving it a shot. We had a long discussion about what she wanted to do about moving forward.
I’ve always had a rule that you finish what you start. If you’ve made a commitment, you finish that out. Since it was still very early in the dance year, we hadn’t committed to buying the costumes yet, only shoes, so I was willing to give her a little room to say she didn’t want to continue, but I did give her a point that she had to make a decision. Once I paid for costumes, she was in it for the rest of the year.
She took a couple of weeks and decided she was going to stick with it. It was a serious crap ton of work and pain. When the teacher tells you the first day, “This is going to hurt. You are not going to get used to it, it is always going to hurt” you know you’ve reached a whole other level than just for fun. She struggled the whole year with the work and she had her good days and her bad days, often frustrated, but she stuck with it.
Her studio is laid back and she only had a half an hour a week for pointe. There was never a ton of pressure to be perfect, just that you always try your best. With pointe, there are absolutely right ways and wrong ways of doing things because you could get hurt or screw your ridiculously expensive pointe shoes up and have to get a new pair if you do something wrong. Her issues were never with any kind of pressure in those regards, it was just hard. It is one of the most intense, hardest and demanding forms of dance, even at this level.
By the end of the season, she was pretty intent that it would be her only one in pointe even though ballet is her favorite. I would have loved to seen her continue, but I wouldn’t push her to do something she hated, so I was fine with it. I love to watch her, but that is my want and that cannot take over her wants, so I was resigned to just enjoy the year I got and move on.
She stunned me when we got the letter inviting her back to pointe when it was time register for classes this year and she said she wanted to do it again. And she is doing it because she wants to. Even knowing how hard it is going to be. Even knowing it will cause her pain and discomfort, she is pushing through and choosing to do this again. This isn’t something that has come easy for her like so many things in school. She isn’t a natural. What she does well, she has worked her tail off for. She isn’t the worst, not by a long shot, but it takes her a while before she is comfortable when learning something new.
I have always been a little worried about my kids when it comes to only ever choosing the easy path and never wanting to put much effort into the things that take work or are hard. Her choosing this, with full knowledge of what she will have to do for it, just amazes me.
I love it even more because I know what dance in general has done for her. As a painfully shy girl who was always quiet and reserved, starting dance was incredibly hard as she was a little older when she started and had no clue what she was doing. I’ve watched her bloom over the years into this incredibly confident, outgoing young girl who strives to do the best at what she does. I’ve watched her go from slightly stiff and awkward and uncomfortable, to smooth and graceful and someone who is beyond comfortable in her own skin.
Doing pointe, knowing it was pretty much the top level of dance you can get to and then getting invited to do it again this year, has done even more for her. She has been over the moon excited about this season starting up and looking forward to today like a little kid at Christmas. This from the girl that very nearly quit last year.
Being super quiet, reserved and struggling with self confidence myself, it relieves me to no end to know that she will never have some of my struggles. So, for at least one more year, I get to watch her do this amazing and beautiful thing and I get to sit back and be a crazy, proud mom.