Tuesday, January 19, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Jenn: Sacrifice


When my daughter Mae started talking, she started performing. At 3 years old, she would belt out Black Hole Sun to anyone who would listen. She had the first solo ever in the history of her pre-schools program when she was 4. I don't know if they've done it since. They did it then because they knew she would get up there and belt it out. The other 4 year olds were her "back-up" singers. She is always on. She has been in the school play every year. She had the lead last year and the year before. When she was 5 she started begging for dance lessons - I didn't want to do it - I didn't want the recitals and the snippy parents and the $$$$. I relented. I found a low key studio that didn't do competitions, that had a small, in studio recital. It worked for me and for her - for awhile. She was an Irish Step Dancer - and she was good - really good by age 8. Her teacher started to push the whole competition thing - she started holding recitals, I started cringing. Part of her step training included ballet and by the age of 9 she had decided she would give everything else up and be a ballerina. It is in her soul. And it is - she has the shape, the size, the feet, the "facility" as one teacher recently told me. The life of a ballerina is not an easy one - but if it is what she wants than her father and I need to support her. She is 11-years-old. If she is not in a better program this year - before she turns 12 - she really has a slim to none chance of achieving her dream. We have been told by experts in the field that the 12th year of her life is the critical one - where she will gain the strength and skill to be accepted into a company as an apprentice at age 14. These next two years are the most important in helping her to achieve her dream. That is a lot of weight on all of our shoulders.

Like everything else, being a ballerina is 50% talent and 50% political. My daughter recently auditioned for a major ballet companies summer program. She didn't get in. Another studio sent some of its dancers to the same audition - who are on the same level as my daughter, all six of them made it in. Apparently where my daughter dances is not connected. We were told we should move her. It would mean a 40 minute drive each way. I am willing to do this. But at what price. It means sacrificing time with my other children - her brother and sister. It means a lot of travelling for me to help her see her dream fulfilled. Would you do it? Do you even have to ask? Do the kids who end up at the Olympics or on stage get there on their own? Or do they owe it all to the parent(s) who drove endlessly, who sacrificed financially, to help them be their best. The siblings who sat on the sidelines while Mom and Dad chauffeured the other one to all the lessons and competitions and auditions and trials. She spent the weekend at the "other" studio checking it out - she was pushed, she was challenged, she was exhausted. She went back to her "regular" studio today and came out crying, because she knows it's time to go. She knows the sacrifices we are all going to make for her. She knows she wants to be a ballerina. I guess I know that too.

Cara's two cents: First I've told you before I love that picture. It gives me chills. Having said that let me say..ugh. These are the times when it's not so much fun being a parent. The tough decisions sometimes make you want to run back to bed and pull the covers over your head. But always go with your gut, so at least even if it ends up being the wrong decision you won't have regrets. xo

7 comments:

@WannabeMomErin said...

Wow! I really admire this family's acknowledgement of Mae's talent and her aspirations, and their willingness to even consider - and apparently undertake - all the hard work and sacrifice that will go into potentially making her dreams come true. I wish them all the best, and especially good luck to Mae in her pursuit of her dream.

(I came over from SITS today)

Anonymous said...

Go for it!

Beth P. said...

I agree with what Cara said! Go with your gut. I think if she really has that much talent and is willing to do the work (which it sounds like she is) then I would do it for my child. Sacrafice is a huge thing, but to have a dream at that young of an age is also a huge thing. I would feel guilty about all the "what-ifs" down the road if I passed on the opportunity.

Rosanne said...

She was born to be a ballerina!! Sacrifices are what it means to be a family and when she succeeds it will be a credit to all of you. Opportunities and dreams are fleeting and when a child is as deserving as this girl is, I think you do what you need to do. Don't forget I'm around the corner if you need help with the other two, my hands may be as full as the next mom but I can always give somebody a ride or whatever else. All I ask in return are tickets to the Ballet!!

Yaya said...

Oh gosh. What a hard decision.

Peterson Family said...

Wow. It sounds like she knows what is ahead of her and just needs lots of support and encouragement for the tasks ahead! But if she is ready to work hard and use those talents...she should go for it!

Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment on my SITS day!

Karen said...

Jenn I feel that when a child finds there passion in life it is up to us, their parents, to do everything possible to make it happen for them. BP told me once that if he didn't play hockey anymore he doesn't think he would be able to breathe. We, the whole family, sacrifice a lot, but it is the best feeling watching him do what he LOVES!!!! I wouldn't trade that feeling for anything in the world.

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