This past weekend the family got together to watch Grace live her best dream — performing on stage in front of hundreds of her adoring fans. Okay, so only eight of them were technically there for her, but that's not relevant.
She’s been dancing since she was three and it is still, by far, her favorite activity. Every spring, the dance studio puts on a recital to showcase everything they have learned since the beginning of school and it’s always such a delight to see these tiny dancers pouring their hearts out for the hundreds of proud family members.
This year, though, things were a bit different for Grace. She was her normal level of excited beforehand, but when I saw her after the show, she could not contain her pride. It was spilling out of her, especially from the smile that stretched from ear to ear. She ran — RAN — to me when she saw me and gave me a huge hug. A rarity these days. Usually, she maintains this “too cool for school” attitude with shoulder shrugs, sarcastic retorts and definitely no PDA with mom. But in the minutes after the finale, she was completely uninhibited and so proud of her hard work.
I was, too.
When I watched her at dress rehearsal — my first time getting to see the dance — the tears just rolled down my face. You could tell something had changed this year. She was more focused, more serious, more confident than previous years.
And watching that combination of focus + hard work = pride is one of those milestones that I didn’t know was waiting for me. The first steps, first words, first lost tooth, first day of kindergarten — I expected all of those. But I wasn’t prepared for how emotional it would be to watch my girl overcome her challenges with courage and persistence and know that she determined her own destiny.