“Do YOU think I’ll make it, Mommy” she asked as we worked our way back home.
My heart had been in a holding pattern and my breath had been hitched up since she walked into her audition. When I heard her song come on from the other side of the door, tears welled up and surprised me – I suppose they were from the pride I felt, and the nervous energy that had been building since she started working on this goal she set for herself in the last week.
Just four days prior, she had made a decision to audition for dance company at her studio. We weren’t aware that there would be an opportunity to join company mid-year, but when the opportunity came up, my girl wanted to give it a go.
As a mom who wants to raise strong, resilient women who set goals, work hard for them and eventually reach them, I encouraged her – even though, admittedly, a little voice in my head was nervous because she might not make it due to her limited experience and novice skill set, and, what if that was enough to stop her from moving forward?
A few weeks prior to that, we attended a dance convention and she loved every minute of every workshop, every stage act had her attention, and it was then she realized she might like to be a part of the competition team herself. As a result, when her small dance school decided to offer Spring auditions, she wanted to give it a go. What made me so proud is she had been through auditions once before at the convention. She auditioned to receive a scholarship to next year’s convention, and got an immediate ‘No thank you’ at the first cut.
But, that did not detour her from trying here at home.
Meanwhile, I have struggled through the time following her audition.
How do you tell your child that she didn’t make the cut? How do you enter into such a situation knowing there is a good chance she’ll be the one who gets the ‘no, thank you’ because, quite simply – she still has a good ways to go in her skill set? What if this second ‘No, thank you’ is the one that stops her from moving forward with her goal?
The truth is, there is no good way to go about these things.
The truth is, this is necessary part of life.
The truth is, I want her to find her courage, strength and resiliency at an early age, and if there are experiences that naturally lend themselves to that – I refuse to avoid them.
Even if I do want to hide under a rock to avoid facing the ‘No, thank you’ that has come as a result of it this time.
We received the dreaded email that let us know that she didn’t make it this time. I had to tell my girl that she wasn’t quite ready for Company yet and we both learned a few things from the process.
I learned that she’s still my tough girl who can maintain perspective, even though she’s disappointed. She was able to discuss the fact that she could have done better and that she understood that this wasn’t the right time for her as a result.
I. Could. Not. Be. Prouder.
She is, quite simply, remarkable.
Ultimately, these ‘No’s’ will shape how she deals with challenges in life. These bumps in the road will help her learn more about how she works. It will cultivate an intrinsic resiliency that will ensure she can pick herself up, dust herself off and keep moving forward.
I can’t protect her from the hard stuff, but I can be there with her along the way helping her make sense of the journey. I knew that auditioning would be tough considering her experience base, but I didn’t want to discourage her from trying – it truly is a defining moment for a child when we allow them to put themselves out there and face those hurdles. It’s not if they fail, it’s how they fail and if they come back from that failure working towards the goal they set for themselves to make it happen…in spite of the ‘no thank you’. Because, ultimately, if they get back up and keep moving forward, it isn’t REALLY a failure in the end, is it?
And, I’m proud to say, she’s already on that path of picking herself up, dusting herself off, and moving forward. An hour after I told her it was a no-go this time around, she was pirouetting around the room with focus…while attempting to hit the chip bowl.
Hey, we were at a Super Bowl party, chip bowls were everywhere. Don’t even get me started on the number of dips I ate.
How do you deal with the tough stuff like this with your kids?