Monday, September 14, 2015

Finding Balance


When Grace was three years old she took a ballet class that was everything one envisions for a three year old.  Little pink leotards with pink skirts and the sweetest little shoes you ever did see. Her instructor was young and enthusiastic and the girls twirled and tumbled in delight.  In fact, her teacher even agreed to host a birthday party where Grace's friends (who were mostly my friends children) came and danced with her.

When we moved away from that sweet class, one of the first things I did was sign Grace up for another ballet class.  She took a local class and enjoyed it for a year or two, but then decided to stop taking ballet.  We moved on.  She tried soccer and gymnastics, she attended classes at a local watershed, took art classes and dabbled in tennis.  And then when she was 7 she asked to take ballet again, with one caveat.  She really wanted to go to a "serious" class.

We are fortunate that we have a very "serious" ballet school close to us and I signed her up, again. The teachers were more serious and not as fun, but Grace loved it.  Something about the exactness of it seemed to speak to her.  She continued on and hasn't stopped.  After a ballet class, Grace is relaxed and happy.  She talks more in the car on the way home then she does any other time.  It's her happy place.  She's made friends with her classmates and has been delighted to be on pointe (apparently, she has perfect feet for pointe!). Honestly, every year I'm expecting her to say "enough"  as it's a huge time commitment for her and every year more classes are added to her schedule, but so far she's still all in.

This past spring she auditioned for a jr program that her school offers and was accepted. This means that she will be dancing in the Nutcracker with the school's professional company.  It's very exciting but it was a difficult decision to allow her to participate.  She will be dancing this fall six days a week.  Six.  I never saw us as that family, but here we are.  I've read all the articles about pushing our children too hard, how they will never be professionals and how we are doing a huge disservice to our youth by over-scheduling them.  I've rolled my eyes at the tiger moms and insisted that it's a top priority to get my children outside to play and yet here we are trying to find balance for our daughter and family.  These aren't easy decisions we make in regards to our children's extracurricular activities, especially considering the ramifications for the rest of the family, and I'm finding it more and more difficult as Grace gets older!  I'm hoping that it will become clearer as we move forward whether we are on the right track or need to readjust, but for now we are looking forward to the Nutcracker this holiday season.


5 comments:

  1. That is so hard. But you let her decide which I think is great! You are giving her control over her body, her activities, her time and her life. Not many parents have the guts to do that and I think it is very very cool and she probably is very thankful to you for it. Great job.

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  2. Wow! Congrats to Grace for being in the Nutcracker this year! Also to you for sitting through so many lessons and classes. Hang in there!

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  3. It's such a hard thing...maybe it's better to think of it in seasons. Balance in life, over the seasons of life. This is Grace's time for this. It's a beautiful gift you are giving her - which does come with sacrifice - but it's just for this season. It's all going so fast...if you can relax into this for now you will probably reflect back with warm memories in no time!

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  4. Yes… I couldn't agree more to it all.

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  5. I was one of those dance twenty-hour a week kids, and I loved it! (Still do; I'm a ballet teacher now.) My son is now a twenty-hour a week competitive gymnast. It is a challenge - much more so as a parent than I recall it being as a kid. As I struggle to help him find balance with his gymnastics practices, school work, trumpet practice, and sleep; I am confident that as long as it's what he wants to be doing, it's the right thing for us. Not only did I dance twenty hours a week, but I held a couple of jobs and graduated near the top of my class. I am now a multi-tasking, organized, motivated wife and mother of two.

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