My daughter began taking classes at her pre-professional program when she was 8 years old. At the end of her first year, there was a small group of top level 14 and 15 year old dancers who moved away to attend year round programs all over the country. Some of the dancers moved away on their own to live in a dorm or with a host family. There were also a few dancers whose entire family moved to provide their child the best opportunity to pursue their dream as a professional ballerina.
At the time, I was both shocked and intrigued. Mostly though, I thought these parents were certifiably crazy!
I chanted loud and proud, “I will NEVER allow my daughter to move away at such a young age…no matter how much she loves ballet or how talented she may be. And for certain, our family will NEVER move away because of ballet!”
Guess where my family is currently living?
If you had told me that exactly one year from the start date of my Podcast I would be sitting in a coffee shop in Florida….having moved cross country because of ballet, I would have proclaimed loud and proud that would NEVER happen!
I should have known that these words would come back to bite me. Many who know me well, know that my favorite mantra is, “NEVER say never”. This is because it seems that each and every time I proclaim that I would NEVER do something ~ it has come back to bite me.
Some of my previous life’s proclamations include:
- “I will NEVER live in a city/state where winter is the longest season of the year”; (These words bit me for almost 18 years);
- “I will NEVER live the suburbs”; (this bite was not so bad….loved my neighborhood);
- “I will NEVER live in a small town” (same bite as above, not so bad…loved my town);
- “I will NEVER allow my child to be out of his/her highchair at a restaurant” (Bite…chomp and chew! But didn’t all parents say this? I would love to meet the mom who actually followed through)
This time is no different.
NEVER say never.
Interestingly, I’ve recently realized that because of Balancing Pointe Podcast, I am now able to both comprehend and consider taking drastic measures on behalf of ballet. Seemingly certifiable to most, but somewhat logical at the same time. This is because over the course of this past year, I’ve spent countless hours talking with over 100 top professionals in the world of ballet and dance. Through this I discovered that there is a common thread among each and every dancer I interviewed. Each dancer attributes much of their success to having a supportive family standing beside them on their journey. They shared in detail the sacrifices made by their parents which allowed them to pursue their dream. Many told how they moved away from home at a young age; some lived in dorms and others moved with their entire family. In every story, the dancer spoke in gratitude and in grace; stating that without the opportunities provided by their parents, they never would be as successful as they had become.
Over the course of this past year I feel so blessed to have spoken to and become friends with such amazingly inspirational individuals. Most of all, I feel blessed to have learned from each inspiring individual that as a parent, making sacrifices is necessary. And if you happen to have a child that is passionately driven toward a dream; as a parent you may wind up making sacrifices you NEVER thought you would consider making.
Mind you, our decision to move was not decided easily ~ it was made with months and months of deliberation, evaluation and of course an enormous amount of doubt….doubt that still lingers daily. And although ballet was the instigating factor, our move to Florida was not solely for ballet. I am a native Floridian and my family still lives here. I love warm weather (see proclamation #1 above) ~ I love heat, the sunshine and saltwater and I am excited for my kids to experience a bit of the salty life.
So, while crazy…..perhaps our move is not certifiable?
Last night Cosette and I took a long walk along the causeway. We wound up having an extraordinary discussion about her goals and dreams; in academics as well as in ballet. It was one of those rare magical teenage daughter moments.
As the discussion came to a close I noticed the sun was setting in a most beautiful array of colors. At that very moment Cosette turned to me and asked, “Mom, if after this summer I have the opportunity to move away next year for ballet, would you let me?”
I pretended to pause before I calmly proclaimed…..