Monday, October 01, 2012

Mommy the killer of dreams

My title is overly dramatic, but it is gray and rainy today which tends to bring out the melancholy in me.
When Nix was 6 I decided it was high time I started living vicariously through her, and put her in ballet classes. Luck for me and my inner child, she loved it. As the years have gone by she has gotten pretty good, made nice friends, and I've become rather attached to my fellow dance moms (they are nothing like the ones on tv). I was a little afraid that getting pointe shoes would put an end to her dancing. She isn't big on pain, and those things can be murder. Instead, it brought her to a new level of enjoyment. She wasn't that little girl in the pink tutu twirling to her own beat any more. Now she is a graceful young woman leaping with beauty. Up until this last Spring, ballet has just been a hobby, but after a taste of the spotlight this Spring, she wanted more.

Being a good supportive mother, I sought outside advice. I was informed by people who would know that Nix did indeed have all the raw tools needed to become a professional ballet dancer. The next step was looking into what it would take. I did my homework, and realized that if she was serious, we needed to get a move on. As a first step, I took her to some outside eyes to be evaluated. It was an eye opener for Nix. She actually did pretty well. It boiled down to, yes you can be a professional, but you need to increase the number of hours you dance per week, and sharpen your skills. In other words, her hobby needed to become her job. It was humbling and sobering for her.
She spent the weekend in deep reflection. I told her that she had the better part of the year to decide, but I could see that she wasn't going to let it sit. More than anything she wanted me to pull the mom card and tell her what to do, but I refused. I explained that it wasn't my place to tell her what to do with her adult life. It was my job to give her the tools to decide for herself. Boy, that was hard! I prayed, she prayed, we all prayed together. Last night after she was in bed and her lights had been out for awhile, she came down and wanted to talk. She told me that she is not going to stop dancing and loves ballet, but she no longer feels like it should be her career path. It is something she finds joy in, and if it became her job she would have to set aside joy for perfection. Professional ballet dancers will tell you that the joy is in the perfection, and since that isn't true for her, even though she has what it takes on the outside, she doesn't have what it takes on the inside.
She was a little sad, as was I. I am certain she has made the right choice. It just means she made her first adult decision about her life. She got realistic about "what I want to be when I grow up", and a little piece of her childhood slipped away.
I keep telling myself that I was supportive and was doing my best to give her every advantage in pursuing her dreams, but in doing so I killed her dream, and that hurts a little. I feel like I broke her, or at least the little girl part of her. I'm glad that she doesn't want to quit entirely, that would have been too much. I'm looking forward to her getting back to dancing for fun this week. It will take a lot of stress out of it for both of us.
Maybe her next career choice will be something that can wait to die until her junior year of college like a regular kid.

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