Constantly learning from your children….

I often write about heavy stuff.  You know what I mean, the things that make you question, the things that piss people off, or things that people feel you shouldn’t discuss.  I choose to write about these things because sometimes you need to read various opinions to remember that yours isn’t the only one out there.

But sometimes, you just need to let it go. Swat away the heavy and allow yourself to be immersed into something light.  In the moment, my something light would be my children, well, that and binge watching something on Netflix or Hulu, but today lets talk about the kids.

My kids are something else! They frustrate me and make me want to pull my hair out, but often, they make me laugh or at the very least smile.  And they are constantly forcing me to learn and grow.  They often keep me from taking myself so seriously and push me to be great.  They do for me, what I ultimately feel I am supposed to do for them.  They are teaching me and helping learn about myself while watching them on their own personal journey.  I am constantly learning more about people, simply by paying attention to my kids.

Madison, the almost 16 year old, is hilarious. We butt heads often, but she can make me laugh to the point of almost peeing on myself (don’t judge, my pelvic muscles are lacking a bit after the birth of three babies and no kegel exercises).  She is quick witted and has a comeback for everything- which only works in her favor when she is being funny, not in the middle of an argument.  She always reminds me to stop criticizing myself.  And for a teenage girl growing up in the midst of such conflicting body image influences across social media and in “real life”, that is quite an accomplishment.  She has reminded me that I do not know the answers to everything and that I cannot compare my children to myself.  Because of her, I am brought back to what it was like to be a teenager in what was a much easier time and am forced to be aware of how difficult those years are regardless of the time.  And if you were having looking for the definition of humble, just look at Madison.  This young woman is talented beyond belief and practically everything she attempts to do, she excels at, and yet she still manages to have the most level headed and humble character ever.  Never boasting about her accomplishments or putting people down because of their failures.  She is about as sensitive as they come and is coming to terms with that quite quickly as she is evolving.  She is the master of doing things outside of her comfort zone.  Sometimes she needs a little nudge, but the minute she taken the dive, nothing can stop her.  She is

Myles, the 10 year old trapped in a 60 year old man’s body is wise long beyond his years.  This little boy is drawn to all things old school and basketball.  He challenges my mind daily.  He is the one that always reminds me that I am exactly where I need to be in the minute. He can put me in my place in a way that isn’t disrespectful and actually makes ME respect HIM more.  And his love for learning is so admirable.  When he cares about something, he really puts his soul into it. This is how he has managed to excel in playing the saxophone and the piano and why he uses free time practicing basketball.  I mean, maybe he is the next Lebron James.  Maybe  not, but he probably has just as much drive as that man and way more than I can ever imagine.  I mean, come on, it takes me weeks before I post a blog post.He researches things and feel s the need to share his knowledge with a anyone willing to listen.  Don’t believe me, just ask him about basketball players from the 80’s and 90’s or about some old school Latin jazz or salsa musicians. I can assure you, he knows more than you knew was possible.  Myles knows what it is like to be the underdog and still practices the act of forgiveness on a level that even bypasses me.  He is extremely intense and acknowledges his emotions better than most adults. And when it comes to special events, this little boy knows a thing or two about wearing ties and 3 piece suits. (And trust  me, he did not get this from his father)

And Mayci, my 7 (almost 8) year old free spirit.  This little girl exudes everything that I could even dream to be.  She walks to the beat of her own drum and almost always smiles.  She has one of the kindest hearts and experiences her emotions to the fullest.  She is gentle with herself and is willing to try anything.  She is has the best fashion sense ever- if she like the way it looks, then it is a style and looks good.  She reminds me that you cannot measure love on a daily basis and explains that this is why she doesn’t haven a favorite parent, grandparent, or sibling.  Her memory is impeccable and she always wants to make me happy(okay, maybe that one is just because she doesn’t want to see me flip, but I’ll take it).  Mayci is my little old lady. She loves to cook, clean, serve others, wear a bun on the top of her head and walk around with a robe on and a cup of coffee(well, hot chocolate although she does drink coffee every now and again).  And if you have had the pleasure of meeting her- you will fall in love.

How is it that my 3 little people have taught  me so much in the short times they have been in my lives.  They are not always my favorite people, but boy do they have a shit ton to offer.

If you are struggling with lessons on love, life, trying harder, making someone laugh, remaining humble, being the life of the party, practicing until it hurts, taking care of family, etc………. Let me know.  I will let you borrow one of my kids for minute. Trust me- they have a great deal to offer and the world is a much better place because of these kiddos.

So the next time I am complaining about them or writing a post about the way they get under skin, if you could kindly direct back to this post- I would appreciate it.  As their mom, I sometimes lose sight of all their gifts and get stuck in the negative….Listen, this mom shit ain’t easy!

In all things find beauty,

~MRC

“Dance moms”- a title I struggled with

20190511_124314.jpgThe end of the 2019 dance season for my 15 and 7 year old has come to a close.  This has been quite the year for both my girls.  And I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t looking forward to the break before summer classes start.  Trust me when I tell you- I am happiest at the end of recital of June each year.

I write a lot about dance because it currently takes up a large part of my life. And I don’t even dance.  If you know me or my oldest daughter, you will already know how involved she is with dance.  Because she is my daughter, this obviously means that I am pretty active within her dance “career”.  However, I fight very hard to not be a “dance mom.”  But why?  Let me try to explain.

When I think of the term “dance mom”, I immediately think of overly pushy and dramatic women who try to live vicariously through their children.  I think of women who forget that they are not the dancers and that it is their role to support their child, not pressure their child.  I think of women that create dram among the dancers and the other moms because of comparisons and the notion that they automatically know more than the teachers.  I even know several people who would consider me this kind of dance mom, although I work very hard to not come off in this manner because this is how I view a “dance mom.”

When I write about dance, understand that I am usually writing about my oldest daughter Madison, because that is where the  majority of my dance experiences have come from for the past 12 years.  When Madison first started dancing at age 4, I had no clue that she would be where she is now.  I had no idea the amount of comfort and safety she would find within the walls of a dance studio.  Slowly she began to develop a stronger urge to dance and found a peace by dancing.  All the while, I tried to just stay by her side and support her as she got further involved.  I had no idea of the friendships that I would gain and lose with various parents and the bonds that would form.  I would have never imagined a dance studio becoming like a second home for both me and my kids and feeling like a family.

As a parent, I feel it is my job to support my kids in the different activities that they want to try.  Myles with piano, saxophone, and dance. Mayci with piano, violin, and dance, and possibly softball since that is where her heart keeps pulling her. And Madison with her dance, violin, choir, and performing arts.  I will do what I can to pay for the activities they are in, to sit on the sidelines to watch them perform, to deal with the crankiness after long days and broken spirits, to cheer them on during both those same moments and great times, to get on them about practicing, stretching, staying committed,etc.  It gets hard and I find myself pulled in many directions and sometimes on the same day and feel guilty about missing whatever else is going on.  I feel their sense of overwhelm at times and their own feelings of frustration an wanting to throw in the towel.

And because I have spent so much time traveling back and forth with Madison, attending various performances, speaking to different mentors for her, and finding new opportunities for her to grow, I tend to consider myself a “dance mom”.  I mean, I am right?  My daughters do dance, therefore I am a dance mom.  However, my son plays basketball, so I am a basketball mom.  All 3 kids play instruments, so I am band and orchestra mom as well. I have kids in choir, so I am a choir mom. But still- none of those titles bother me the way the term dance mom does.

I absolutely LOVE watching my kids perform.  I feel extremely proud of each of them.  Even when I am watching them do something that they struggle with, I am proud.  Proud of them for being involved and for trying anyway. Proud of them for sticking to whatever commitment they made.  Proud of them for working through broken spirits and growing from less than ideal experiences.  Just proud!

And still sometimes when I am watching Madison dance, I feel like I should not talk about how proud I am of her.  I feel like people assume I think my daughter is the best.  And let me tell you- I know that Madison is talented.  There isn’t a person in the world that can tell me different, but I still feel strange every time I post something about her or receive a compliment.  I feel like people are going to think that I am “dance mom”.

And then it hits me.  I  am a dance mom- through and through.  My beliefs surrounding how I respond to my daughter’s talents are more about what I fear other people “may” think than what I feel.  And I need to be more focused on how I feel.  I need to understand that just because I equated the term dance mom with negativity for so many years, doesn’t mean that it IS a negative term or that I need to act differently.  I am a dance mom!

I am supportive of my kids. I allow them to try almost any activity they want.  I have allowed themselves to wear themselves thin just so they can learn the lesson of knowing when too much is too much.  I don’t compare my kids to other kids nor do I expect them to be phenomenal at all of their activities. I do expect them to try what they commit to regardless of how good they are at it.  I do expect them to be gracious towards both themselves and others.  I expect them to be humble when they are succeeding at something, but to not be afraid to be confident.

I do not push for my kids to be the best all around but I do encourage them to be the best THEY can be. I do not criticize them if they mess up during a dance, song, performance, etc.  I do not expect them to compete with her fellow teammates, but explain that it is okay for them to challenge themselves.

I am dance mom.  I am also a basketball mom, a violin mom, a performing arts mom, a saxophone mom, a salsero mom,a soon to be softball mom, and who knows what else will come.  I will wear each of these titles with pride and know that the negative connotations associated with some of them are only a reflection of other people’s thoughts and the actions of people.  I will maintain my actions and focus on my thoughts, and then I no longer need to be turned off by ANY title.

The lesson I am learning is this:  as these young ones are growing up and learning to find their way in the world, they will probably try out many things.  Some will stick, others won’t.  Some they will be good at, others they will not.  No matter what the situation- it is my job as their parent to continue to give them the space to explore new things and to cheer them on while they do their thing.  It is not my time to live through them.  They are their own person and need to find their own way.  I am still here and still living, so if they are doing something that I wish I could do, then I need to find/make the time to do it. Just as I don’t want people to judge me by a title, I too need not judge and give titles. It doesn’t matter what title I have at any given moment.  What matters is that my children know that I am here for them and will be their number 1 fan- ALWAYS!

 

In all things find beauty,

~MRC