Monday, August 17, 2015

Something had to give

Our first born is an overachiever. Packrat claims that she takes after me. I guess. At one point, Jordan was doing ballet twice a week, gym twice a week, art once a week, swimming once a week. And at that point, she was doing extra Chinese twice a week and Math once a week. It was a scheduling night mare and it just did not sit right with us because there was too much on her plate and she needed time to play. Some told us we were doing the right thing and comforted us by telling us that since most of her extra stuff was not school related, it was play. Unfortunately, that wasn't our definition of play. So we kept asking her quit something. In response, she asked for piano lessons.

Eventually, she had to choose under duress but not really from us.

At the end of May, Jordan competed in another gym competition and did not fare as well as she did previously. This was about the same time that we were hearing that actually, the gym she was at wasn't all that great for building foundation and skills properly and we were shopping around for another gym. Jordan became taken with this other gym that was run by China coaches and insisted on switching there despite our reservations of it being too great a leap from a 'play' gym to a gym run by China coaches. She dug in her heels and they insisted that if she wanted to join them, she had to put in a minimum of 6 hours a week.

That was the gun to her head.

She chose to give up everything; ballet, art and swimming. We had decided on giving up Math without consultation with her anyway.

That was when you could hear two hearts shatter in unison, from a mile away. Both Packrat and I were extremely saddened at her decision to give up ballet and art.

For me, part of it was vicarious. Because I had danced, I had wanted her to. I am not ashamed to admit that. But it was also because when she danced, there was pure joy and musicality and I would miss watching her move with the music.

For Packrat, there wasn't the vicarious reason but he loved watching her dance and how she immersed herself in it. With the art, her eye for detail and how she drew every time she found a piece of paper made us feel wistful that she chose to give it up.

Putting these away was difficult.

Our consolation was that with the numerous hours of gym she was going to put in, if she wanted to go back to ballet, it would not be all that difficult.

And art was something that she could do on her own and there would always be opportunity. A case in point was when she went off for a day with a friend from church and when I picked her up, she had a canvas painting of the both of us for my birthday.

At the same time, we had to remind ourselves that it was what she wanted to commit her time to and that we had to respect the decision she was making. So, she now spends an inordinate amount of her time upside down and has core strength and abs that put us to shame and she's happy. 

So while we mourn for what she could have done with the ballet or the art, the sparkle in her eye after gym despite 3 hour long classes makes us realise that she knows herself best.


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