This past week I took Maddie for her first day at the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education. To say this is a change for us is a bit of an understatement. For the last 6 1/2 years, we've always felt it was important for her to just be a kid with dance, drama, gymnastics, art lessons here and there but nothing really serious. We have always felt and still do that kids need as much free play time with their peers as possible. We don't want over scheduled kids who feel too much pressure. We've also had a lot of challenges with her food allergies and asthma in particular so we have to pick and choose according to what time of the year it is and how she is feeling. She also has so many varied interests from ballet to skateboarding that we've never wanted her to feel like she had to do one thing seriously. I truly love that about her!
This winter has felt a bit different for us. She's had a relatively great year with no hospital visits (yeah!) and although we are always on edge, we think we finally have some control and understanding of how to manage things a bit better. Ironically, the only day she's struggled this Winter so far was the day I picked her up for ballet. She's been begging to dance again for a while (like the Nutcracker mom!) so we began to look at classical ballet for the benefits it can teach kids like self-esteem, improvements in concentration, and it allows children to become more aware of their little bodies and how to control them. We know another family who has found an incredible home with the Atlanta Ballet for their food allergic son so after long talks over coffee I decided we'd give it a try. We aren't pressuring her to get competitive with dance unless she chooses that route for herself but for now she's beaming with excitement and having fun and we are happy to explore another group of friends for her in this City.
Here is what our morning looked like. Ballet is officially in my home to stay as long as she continues to enjoy it! We practiced our official bun with the tiny amount of hair she has to put up, added a tutu to the outfit and danced around the house with brothers following suit. I added our official "first day" photo and a personal note I wrote just to her that day. She's the strongest and most beautiful girl I know and I couldn't be more proud to be her mom.
" I could sharpen your eyes to make them sparkle more. I could clean up your skin and erase your bumps. I could make your allergic "shiners" disappear from under those sweet eyes but I won't because it wouldn't be you. Today was your day even though you weren't feeling well. I could tell when I picked you up from school. Something was getting the better of you...your skin flaring and breathing shallow little self just beamed with excitement as we drove and you dreamed. Today was your day my darling and I was just along for the ride."