Ballet is such a beautiful art form, and frequently while waiting for Addison to finish her lessons my mind wanders back to my days of dancing at the studio in Georgetown with the picture window. The one where I would get distracted in the winter as I watched the snow flakes fall and get reprimanded by the mean lady in the black leotard with the tight bun. Remembering vividly those Saturdays when my father would take me and my bun would be a mess, but I would be there working on my perfect form and feeling a little defeated at times when I couldn’t make my body do what the other girls could.
Fast forward some ohhhhhhhhh, let’s say 28 years….
Every lesson, as tired as I am, I watch the screen intently to see if I can pick up on some of Addison’s frustrations and triumphs so that when her lesson is done I can compliment her on how well she did on her arabesque or mention she needs to point her toe a little more on her tendue. Even in my praise and honest loving critique there are days when she is sad that she couldn’t make her body do what the other girls could.
As I continue to learn as a parent and enter this realm that is composed of more than wiping noses and butts, the stage that comes with really instilling life values into my children I will admit I am a little overwhelmed and have been doing a whole lot of over thinking. As I read about the struggles that children are facing today, I can’t help but think that somehow if I take that extra minute to say, “While you can’t do that arabesque perfect today, if you keep practicing you will get better,” she will remember and hear my voice in times when I’m not around and remind herself that perfection is not the point in life, effort is, and she will love herself through those times and keep pushing.
Every lesson, I see her trying a little harder. Leaping a little higher, being a little more graceful. Every lesson, I tell her what a great dancer she is and how I saw that one move and she smiles. She knows I’m watching and encouraging her to be great. Sometimes I don’t think she gets it, but the other day we were in Target and she mentioned that she loved SOMETHING more than anything else. I replied, “Even yourself?” she says yes. I stop her there and say you don’t love anything or anybody more than you love yourself and God. She nods and says like in ballet when I ‘m not supposed to pay attention to what the other girls are doing and love myself even when I don’t feel like I’m doing it right?” I say yes, you focus on loving and being the best you that you can be. Things and people shouldn’t be your priority.
The next day out of nowhere she says I love my family 1,000 but I love myself and God 1,001. I think she’s getting it!