Brooke, my daughter, received devastating news. She is in dance, and they just received their evaluations which places them in their classes for next fall. Brooke’s best friends in her class all got level 3’s and she got a level 2. She was crushed. The sobbing coming from her little body just broke my heart. In the flash of being with her for 5 minutes I went from angry mom who wanted to burn her studio down while filling out every bad review possible, to hard-ass mom asking if she had really tried her best and if she deserved to be a level up, to sad mom wanting to just wrap my baby in my arms and sob with her reliving every disappointment myself and wanting to sheild her from that, to finally full circle to just a mom who needs to shut the fuck up and let my daughter be sad and disappointed for a moment.
When the crying stopped and she washed her face, we had a talk. First, she had a zoom dance class in 30 minutes so I told her she had to pull it together. Next, we looked at the notes the teachers posted next to each of her placements. There were some critiques for sure, but most of the teachers focused on Brooke’s bright personality and how much then loved having her in class. I made her stop as I reread those kind words out loud. My daughter LOVES dance. She dances all over the house, and she does TikToks nonstop. I didn’t want her to lose that over a bad placement this one time.
After trying to give her a little confidence and positivity back, I wanted to light a fire. I told her to call her teacher and ask her why she received the placement she did. I told her we would do it together, and not in a, “my daughter is so perfect how dare you place her beneath her Queen B status which she deserves” kind of way (although that is right) it was a moment for Brooke to ask her teacher, “what can I improve on and work towards this summer to get a re-evaluation and earn my spot where I would like to be,” conversation.
This world can be brutal, and I know I don’t have to say that, but it is something my kids are going to see more and more as they get older. The last thing I want is for Brooke to cry, feel sorry for herself, and quit, or worse make up excuses as to why she wasn’t picked. I started hearing her say, “on zoom they can’t see how good I’m doing” and “The carpet doesn’t let me turn the right way.”
After dance class was over, we made an email together for her teacher asking for her phone number and to set a meeting time. By writing this email she showed her teacher that this means something to her. I believe this will make her teacher pay closer attention. She has a room full of girls, and now a zoom room, so if you have an impression that a student is okay with where they are, you may not give them another look. Then we talked about strength and core training exercises we could do together to improve. Tomorrow I truly hope her teacher will set up a time, and go over with Brooke techniques and <insert ballet/dance words here> so that she can have the satisfaction of seeing her hard work pay off.
I wrote a blog once about advice I wish I could give my daughter and I was so proud of that because it was true and it had my humor in a way my daughter will never know about me, but what is more important is advice I CAN and I WILL give my daughter. And this lesson, my lovebug, is when life packs a punch; stand-up, put on your sparkliest rings, and punch that mother fucker right back. You wrote that email and after we sent it you asked me why, so here’s why- NOTHING IN LIFE IS EASY. Nothing you want so badly in this life will be handed to you, and that’s okay. You cannot truly appreciate success without breaking a sweat, so you need to make sure you are sweatin the right stuff.
Oh, and Brooke’s dance teacher, we’re coming for you! (But not like in a threatening “I’m gonna beat your ass” kinda way, in a “we are motivated and are going to work so hard you can’t ignore us” kinda way) K’ bye!