Thursday, June 04, 2009

Living the dream

My eyes followed the beautiful ballerina as her seemingly weightless body floated across the stage, her tiny feet barely touching the ground. The emotion on her face matching the rich passion in her movements. I was utterly captivated.

Then the men took their turns, leaping, spinning, throwing themselves into the air with such strength and precision and mastery. It gave me goosebumps.

I had forgotten how much I loved the ballet. I had forgotten how I had longed to be a dancer, so many, many years ago.

I was touched somewhere in the depths of my heart, in the place where we hold special dreams.

I was eight years old again, dreaming the dream.

The final chords swelled from the orchestra. The principal dancer walked slowly forward, holding the precious flower in his hand, the look of such loving despair on his face.

"Giselle" was over.

I leapt to my feet, tears in my eyes, my hands clapping in unison with the thundering applause around me. And a feeling of sheer joy gripped me, knowing that I had just witnessed a magical, historical performance.


****

My sister took me and my mother to the ballet on Sunday. It was my birthday present (from October) and my mother's birthday weekend. And unbeknownst to us at the time that we booked the tickets, it was to be the very last performance of Chan Hon Goh, as principal dancer of the National Ballet of Canada. She has been somewhat of a living legend, well known for her beauty, strength and talent. After 20 years with the company, she has retired. At the age of 40, she has decided to shift her career and spend more time with her family.

When she came back on stage with the rest of the dancers, all eyes were upon her. Bouquets were thrown on the stage, several of her principal dancer colleagues came up her, each presenting a single rose, other famous National Ballet alumni came on stage (ie. Rex Harrington, Karen Kain...), her parents, and finally her husband and young son.

The crowd went wild as a shower of red balloons rained on the dancers.

And her little son, whose hand had been clasped by his beautiful dancer mother, broke away to kick through the round balls of fun. He grabbed a couple and threw them up in the air with glee.

Rounds of laughter arose from the audience and the stage.

A moving, perfect moment.

*****


"Mommy, how do dreams come true?" asked my little girl as I drove her and her brother home from the library the other afternoon.

"Well, sometimes dreams take a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, but if it's something you really want to do, you just keep at it. Mommy and Daddy will help you get where you want to get, but it's something you really have to want for yourself."

As I said this, I remembered how badly I had wanted to be a ballerina. But when it came time to step it up a bit and commit to training three times week, I was already spread so thin with lessons and school. My mother gave me a choice. To continue with ballet, knowing that despite my teacher's suggestion, I likely wasn't good enough to make it as a professional; or go with the music lessons and embrace something that wouldn't be so limited.

So at the age of 11, I gave up my first real "dream".

Fast forward over 30 years. After the practical route gave me my first experience with entrepreneurship (teaching piano while in highschool); after continuing with dance as a hobby, but opening up to other possibilities in school and career ... I come to my life as it is now.

Ten years ago I was struggling with infertility, wondering whether I would ever be a mother.

Another dream that I wasn't sure would ever be fulfilled. But I wasn't going to let this one go so easily.

So thankfully this dream did and is still, coming true.

*****

Back in the minivan...

"So sweetie, what is your dream?" I asked.

"I want to be Hannah Montana when I grow up!"

And her big brother piped in,"Well, G, if you really want it, you should sing some more, and then Mommy and Daddy can get you into lessons. Then you can practice, try out for shows, there are so many ways for you to get there..."

He didn't mention that she'd also have to dye her hair blonde and pick up a Southern drawl.

But that's okay.

After all, it's her dream and if she'll stick with it, we'll be there for her.

54 comments:

Life As I Know It said...

Dreams are good to have. They keep us feeling awake, and sometimes wake us up.
Nice post.

Tooj said...

Okay, all through your post I was touched. Your description of the ballet and her final moment on stage receiving the praise...all very touching. But when you said her brother gave her the suggestions and encouragement....THAT...was touching. Thanks for the good morning smile. Happy Thursday.

Cheryl said...

You sound fulfilled, so glad your dreams have come true
I wanted to be a clown when was young...so glad that dream did NOT come true....I hope your Hannah Montana makes it big time!

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I wanted to be a jockey and ride horse races. :)

My sister was a ballerina up until she finished college, and it turns from a 3 day a week thing into a 6 day a week thing at about high school level. And my bff was a ballerina for about as long, and has the worst back problems because of it.

And jockeys sometimes fall off of horses and get hurt. Every dream has its price. If they were easy, everyone would do them, right?

I'm glad your dream of a baby (two!) came true, and that your son is so supportive of your daughter's dream. And I'm glad you can take your kids to the ballet. :)

One thing about the ballet that has always impressed the hell out of me is how effortless they make it look, especially the women. Like it's so simple, when in reality they have to be this almost impossible combination of REALLY strong, and yet so delicate and thin looking.

Don Mills Diva said...

Beautiful Karen, just beautiful.

I still have a dream or two myself that I'm not ready to give up on...

Kat said...

Man! You are making me cry!
Just a beautiful post!

Brandy said...

I think if every dream was fulfilled then there would be no need to dream...

And I'm sure she would be beautiful as a blondie!

JustMiss said...

Chills and a lump in my throat here Karen! Beautiful post!

Heidi said...

I love watching ballet too. My daughter loves dance. But she also loves acting and writing and playing softball. I'm glad she didn't inherit my shyness for the stage. I hated recitals!

bj said...

Hi...hope your day has been a good one.
I'm just over from SITS...

Momisodes said...

Not sure why, but I'm all teary eyed reading this. I know that awe-stricken, swell of emotion as a ballet spectator all too well. I also shared your dream of becoming a ballet dancer. And I also gave it up after my parents disapproval.

I'm so glad that your dream of becoming a mother came true. And you are a wonderful mother for supporting your little girl's dream, too.

bec said...

Very touching, poignant post. Just beautiful.

I'm sure lots of girls dream of being Hannah Montana or like her. So sweet of her brother to be so encouraging.

Glad your motherhood dreams came true!

Dina said...

what a sweet post.

It is very important for all of us to have dreams- whether or not they are realistic they keep us going!

Rachel said...

So sweet.
Sooooo wonderfully written. I felt it all. experienced it all.

I love when you write from your heart like this ;-)

Huckdoll said...

I remember my first ballet and second - Swan Lake. Ahhh, the dreams of becoming a ballerina. After that, I enrolled for one summer - and was done! Ballet is hard work!

I can very much relate. I so want to take my mom to New York one day and see a NYCBC. She loves it too.

Future Mama said...

Wow, beautifully written! You were in front of my in SITS so I wanted to stop by and I'm blown away by your writing! Wonderful story!

Momo Fali said...

What a great brother to encourage her! It is MY dream that my kids' dreams all come true.

Veggie Mom said...

Beautiful post. I love the ballet, too. Coming at you from SITS, where I'm sharing the Comment Love this weekend!

C said...

What a beautiful post, Karen! You write so beautifully. You know that? For some reason, this post made me cry because it was so beautiful. Gah! I'm not even pregnant anymore, so I have no excuse! LOL!

xo

melissa said...

i had dreams of being a ballet teacher. to share the love i had for the art with children. to help plant it, nurture it and watch it grow.
it got squashed somewhere along the way.
recently, for my birthday, my sister took me to the detroit opera house to see romeo and juliet...the ballet. i wanted to cry at how beautiful it was.

i love this post.
xoxo

Kami's Khlopchyk said...

Gosh, your words here are stunning, the way you put all the pieces together...wow. You hit a homer with this one, girl.

I still have dreams that haven't come true but you know what, so many have that I might just be content. Nah. If you can't keep dreaming, what's the point?

:)

Magpie said...

This is a sweet post.

Kristin said...

Beautifully written! Becoming a mommy was a greater dream than I knew I had until he was here!

Brandi said...

I do so love the ballet. I miss it. Beautifully written post. I have to add your feed to my reader. I need more of your blog posts in the future.

The Dapper Darling said...

What is it about dance that moves so many? It's in our bones! Beautiful post!

Fruitful Vine2 said...

I love the way your son showed her the possibilities.

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

I think it's fantastic that your daughter is in ballet and you get to still enjoy it through her experiences. Love how you encourage her to dream too!

Happy SITS day!

Elizabeth a.k.a. Type A Mommy said...

Aw, ballet was my dream too - that and gymnastics. Until I became too tall to logistically be a gymnast, and I still to this day will occasionally watch gymnastics meets and the Olympics and wonder if I could've been "someone" had I kept trying. Gosh, I hadn't thought about that in a while! Now I know what you meant about your blog being a little bit of a Hallmark movie! I'll have to read about the man boobs. :)

Christina said...

It's hard to let dreams go. I gave up my lifelong dream of being a painter... I stopped painting altogether at the end of high school, because I wanted to focus on college and "real life."

I was good. I wonder what would be different if I'd kept at it.

Joy said...

Very well-written. Congrats on your SITS day :o)

Kim said...

So thoughtful & well said. Your son is already thinking. Nice.
@cheapchichome.blogspot.com

pk said...

You're a great writer! I love the way both you and your son are encouraging your daughter's dreams.

Reluctant Housewife said...

Well told!

Hannah Montana - too funny.

It's wonderful that you got to see Chan Hon Goh's final performance. That must have been very special.

Kimmy C said...

Beautiful post! My 9 year old has the same dream... she started taking guitar lessons 8 mos ago to help her on her way! :)

Happy SITS Day.

Sara said...

That's actually quite impressive that her brother was so supportive!

My brother would've laughed and then gone through all the logical reasons as to why that would never happen.

Good kids you got there!

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

That was a sweet post. I wanted to be a ballerina too, but after 8 years of dance I chose golf!

Still, each Christmas I put on the Nutcracker and dance around the house even though with each year that goes by I pull more and more muscles, I still do it!

Happy SITS day!

Cheryl said...

It's good to see you and your son encouraging your daughter. Love it!

Jessica Nunemaker said...

I haven't seen ballet in a loooong time and, no, I never danced it.

I was built for tap. Fo' sure. ;)

Happy SITs!

AmericanTribal said...

I love the support that your family has for each other. Glad you enjoyed the ballet and that you encourage your kids to have dreams :)

Jenn Erickson said...

Congrats on your SITS day. Another richly woven post! Sounds like a very beautiful, moving, and special performance of Giselle! I love the way you adressed your daughter's question, and got a kick out of her response! I, too, took ballet for many years (till I was 16) and always feel that sort of flood of emotions and memories when I see a performance.

Robin said...

Lovely post....

Angelia (Texas) said...

The ballet is beautiful, how awe-inspiring to see her last performance.

My daughter wanted to be nail salon technician, I like G's dream better! LOL.

2busy said...

Dreams are what keep us going. But, Hannah Montana? Really?

Kerri said...

You are a beautiful writer~!!
Congrats on your SITS day!
Kerri

Mammatalk said...

Keep cultivating their dreams...even if they are a bit corny! :+)

Alex Fitzpatrick aka Ma What's 4 Dinner said...

I'm sure if she works really really hard she could be Hanna Montana when she grows up...it could happen!

Alex

Lorri Jeanne said...

I agree with everyone else, you're writing is amazing!

muummmmeeeeee...... said...

We all need dreams - mine is to get back into a size 8 dress and lose a few wrinkles. I might be better opting for a miracle...

Zeemaid said...

that's the great thing about life, our dreams evolve as we grow.

My daughter wants to be HM too. ;)

happy SITS day!

Kristin @ Meanbean said...

my mom and I were -just- talking about dreams, fulfilled and given up, just a few days ago. It's bittersweet to look back over them, but I have no regrets!

Kelly said...

Aren't children just great for those thought provoking life questions :o)

~SHANNON~ said...

beautifully written.

Michelle said...

but it's sweet that he encouraged her that way.

Marie said...

I think it's really important to teach kids to dream, good for you. :)

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