I am not sure if this sounds more difficult than it is or, perhaps, it sounds easier than it actually is. Perhaps it is dependent upon the relationship in question.
Somewhere along the way I learned this lesson. Sometimes it is more difficult than others. There are times, within my adult relationships, that I want to grab the wheel and drive myself as the other person just isn’t seeing all the opportunities and such that I am. They are missing on so very much. I have loads of suggestions and ideas and... I need to remind myself that I can offer, but it is NOT my path. The car is not mine. They will drive themselves and do it just the way they like.
And I am happy for them. I quickly find a means of letting go and being there for them. (At least I hope I do)
When it comes to my daughter... it is both easier and more difficult to let go. I have never believed her to be a second chance for me to live my life. I have never seen her as a little me or someone who could fulfill the dreams I didn't. I am blessed to walk beside her.
I am her care giver, entrusted with her well being. That is a role I cherish and take very seriously.
And yet, I realize that this also means that I have to let her fly.
In order to fly, she has to dream and aspire to do so. In order to fly, she has to fall. And the world in which she has chosen to fly is cruel and mean and difficult. It is a world that demands perfection and beauty. One that requires competition from the very beginning. It is the world of art and ballet.
In this world, the artists learn to perfect each move from an early age. They learn through strict discipline and training. There is little to no room for mistakes. Perfection is ideal; perfection is desired. To learn to fly in this world, my daughter has to learn to fall.
For the record, let me say that I am not a pushy mom in the slightest. I believe in keeping our word and adhering to commitments, but I don't push my daughter to do anything. She calls the shots.
And at an early age she fell in love with ballet.
For seven years, rain sleet, snow, hail, freezing temperatures, I have carried, walked, wheeled, and done whatever it takes to get my daughter to her ballet school and the performances. I have never fought with her about going; she goes because she loves it. She goes because she knows that this is what she needs to do to fulfill her dream.
Last year was tough. Last year my Diva learned to fall, and fall hard. She learned that people knew when she wasn't putting herself completely into something. She learned that there is no such thing as giving less than 100% in ballet and still expecting to succeed. She dropped from being the best to the middle. She fought herself and her own nature as she doesn't like anyone to be better than anyone else. This is a child that strives for justice – something that is not seen in much of life and in ballet. It is competitive where she is not.
Other parents shook their heads as they told me what was going on in class. They suggested that they would pull their daughters. My heart ached. I wiped tears, considered changing schools, and yet left it all in the hands of my 8 year old and her dream.
She wasn't happy with what was happening, but she knew she didn’t want to change schools. She knows the her training here is top notch. Ballet is hard. Ballet is beyond hard. It is nothing that I would ever choose to have my child do if it weren't her dream.
It was a rough year - and yet she never wanted to quit. She took her licks and came back fighting. She stood by her dream and her desire to dance.
And it has paid off.
She began to learn to give 100% of herself. She learned that she didn’t have to compete with the other dancers; she had to be the best she could be. After a summer of maturing and entering the 3rd grade, my little girl took her place in the ballet class as the best in the class - just as the instructor always believed her to be.
Tuesday, as parents watched (and I sat shaking with nerves) my Diva did her exercises. She performed with poise and grace. Having spent that past year being touched to perfection and knocked down a peg or five or ten... she shone with all that she had learned. I am so very proud of her for all the work she has done and is doing; for all that she has learned.
The road ahead is not easy for her nor is it easy for me. She will have to work hard. There will be more tears and more falls. There will be more moments in which she is not performing 100% all of the time. My heart will hurt, and I will question and be questioned as to what my daughter is experiencing.
Yet, I know now that she can handle it. I know that her dream is strong as is her desire to fulfill that dream. She has learned that focus and hard work pay off. The Diva has learned that to fly, one has to learn to fall and the try again. She has learned that there is a difference between working hard and putting your heart into it.
She might not be a professional ballerina as she currently dreams, but she knows how to work to fulfill a dream... any dream. That is something for which I am thankful.
My daughter is just 8 and yet, she has not only learned to fall, but she is learning to fly!
*Yes, the child pictured is the Diva. (photographer was her mom)