Thursday, June 24, 2010

Good, Better, Best?

Last night I attended my girls' dance recital.  It was very bittersweet.  A lot of thoughts and emotions ran through my head.

Megan has been doing dance for several years.  She has also been doing piano for about the same time, and for just shy of a year now she has been playing the harp.  She is very musically talented.  Both her harp and piano teachers speak highly of her musical abilities.  In fact her harp teacher, recently mentioned that Megan is at the progression of a 2-3 year student.  Megan's dance teacher even speaks highly of her, because of her musical ability to keep to the beat and is often the leader that the other dancers look at.  However, Megan has made the difficult decision to quit dance and focus on the piano and harp.  It hasn't been an easy decision, she and I both have days we second guess it, but Megan is almost 12 years old, she still needs and wants to have time to be a kid.
(gotta love the background!)

This was Ellie's first dance recital.  She too, did a fabulous job.  It is so fun to watch the young girls dance and see their confusion, enthusiasm, timidness, talent and childness all rolled into a short dance.  Mike is not a dance fan.  Ellie is kind of indifferent. And I, the mother, am trying to make the best decision possible for my children.  Ellie is progressing at the piano, and has a keen interest in beginning the violin. (Those music genes from Mike's side of the family are making a strong appearance...)  And so this could well have been the first and last dance recital for Ellie!

While at the dance recital, a kind neighbor shuttled Luke back and forth from his last fishing class.  (No sibling support at the recital this year, but oh how pleasant it was to not be dealing with a one year old and three year old like the lady in front of us was...)  Luke has talents and interests all of his own.  With the exception of piano lessons, which he is not fond of some of the time, and the spring fishing class, most of his interests and hobbies lie in his own explorations, not in organized classes.  Although he does have an interest in playing basket-ball this fall...

My thoughts have been heavy these past few weeks as I contemplate doing what is best for our children.  I am a very firm believer in limiting extra-curricular activities as I am very protective of our evening family time, family dinners and my children being able to P.L.A.Y.  Not to mention, the responsibility to be fair to the family finances.  I see children around me involved in too much, and for some it shows in their lack of imagination.  I see some children around me involved in nothing, and for some it shows in their self-esteem.  How do we choose?  How do we as parents help our children choose their talents and interests with our guidance and hope we are choosing the right things?

Just before one of the dances began last night, the mother in front of me was juggling her hot, sweaty, wanting-to-go-home one year old, a tripod and a still camera.  I leaned over and asked if her daughter's dance was next, she responded yes.  So, I took the hot, sweaty, whiny one year old to the back of the dark auditorium, hoping the baby wouldn't see my face, and realize she was in a stranger's arms.  As I stood bouncing the baby, I was touched by the trust that existed between two stranger mothers.  We mothers trusted each others and our own instincts. 

And so, I'll try to take that same thinking into my parenting decisions.  I will have to trust that I'm doing what's best...

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


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