Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stepping outside my comfort zone

Getting ready to start in our party scene!
This past week I was on vacation from my day job to be an active parent.

Sometimes we need that.

I really had to step outside of my comfort zone for this parenting act -- being in the cast of Clara's Dream (a version of The Nutcracker).  Parents often do things we never thought we would for our kids.  We intentionally put our nose to a probably dirty diaper to be sure it needs to be changed. We forego sleep to take care of kids. We take care of their needs before our own routinely.  They change us in many ways for the better.

For years my daughter has loved to perform on stage for theater and dance. She has asked on several occasions for me to audition for "family shows" where they allow parents of students to be in the cast. Each time she has asked, I answered with a firm "No".  I have never acted or danced. I prefer one-on-one conversations, not large groups - and definitely not the stage!

Several months ago she asked and I actually considered it. I had already requested vacation for that week due to show week always getting crazy with time constraints. Rehearsals were later in the evenings, so they wouldn't interfere with work. As I thought about it, I considered the joy of being an active part of her favorite activity and put away my fears of being on stage.  (Of course the fear returned each time we were called backstage to line up for the scene- but it was too late to turn back then!) It was an act of faith because I had never seen the show and knew little about what I was signing up to do.  I figured parents would mostly be "background" people and didn't realize we would learn dance steps and actually be a part of the scene. No, I didn't have to do ballet - just a Victorian ballroom style dance.

It was fun to be a part of my daughter's life in a way that will always have a special memory. Call it working mom guilt, but I want to make special memories in addition to daily quality time.  Quality time is not spent watching tv with kids, but doing things together.  Some things are small, like taking a walk or playing a game. Some things are more memorable because they are unique.

Not only did I get some great times with my daughter, I also met a number of fun people in the process.  Spending so much time with other parents of dancers was a great bonding experience in itself. And I got to know some of the students and teachers my daughter works with on a regular basis at dance classes.  It is always a good idea to know the people that hang out with the kids!

So when your kids ask you to do something and your first thought is "no way", take a moment to think about it. You might just change your mind and grow with your child!


Bow time... my "German son" is blocking me.
To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.  – Anonymous