Sunday, February 13, 2011

Joy of Dance and Life

There are times I forget how young my daughter is ... especially when I put it in context of my own youth. Fifth grade. I think I sang a song from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar (with sign language, of course, my nearly trademarked choice of communication that always seemed to so easily fit with song) at a reunion of some sort in North Dakota. WAIT! It had to be later ... we were living on the farm, and I think I went to study some sign language with my former teacher out there somewhere (I'll have to ask on Facebook).

Well, if I was older ... then I'm not sure I had any kind of solo experience (except that of piano recitals, I guess ... but it was an expected end to a year of lessons, not really a performance in my mind).

I did two dance solos, both in my early twenties. She has technically done 4 dance solos by age eleven. I know there are other girls who have grown up performing and one would think they were born on stage. But I guess I'm finding myself realizing how proud I can be when she is brave enough to try something like this. She didn't start when all the other girls did. The timing of divorce and additional financial challenges limited the exposure my kids had to extracurricular opportunities.

Once in Oklahoma, I was able to start making one or two things available to my kids. At first, she chose baseball like her brother. The pink batting helmet in a sea of boys got her in the newspaper, but not into the big leagues. She found she didn't really enjoy the game, and wasn't too sure about the boys (though they were VERY sweet and didn't bat an eye to having a girl on their team) as they were just ... well ... boys.

Once she was in dance, it fit. Teachers would ask where she had danced before (she hadn't), and each year she would be advanced more than her experience suggested. So while she is still a novice in this area, she LOVES it and is doing well. And seeing her face BEAM for hours and watching her personality soften and expand in the light of feeling so amazing, I am not only proud but encouraged. Maybe she is finding her place early in life?

I find myself struggling with that from time to time as an adult. Even today, I asked myself what I wanted out of life. I answered myself aloud as honestly as I could. "I want someone to tell me what I want to do. I want it to click. I want it to give me energy. And I want to do it." (Yes, it's a little pathetic that I need someone to tell me. I think it's sheer exhaustion speaking. As soon as I said the words, I felt like inside I already know - it's just either getting quiet enough or brave enough to hear it.)

My hope for her? That she follows her heart fully ... and I guess that's my hope for every person. But that's not always a good thing, depending on the heart! So maybe I should say it more accurately. My hope is that she has her heart in a good place and follows it fully.
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