I believe there are important lessons in having our kids play but not making it the central focus of their lives or the lives of the entire family. We still need to make space for family vacations, summer jobs, worship, academics, and yes, general leisure. I believe that one of the reasons that we struggled so much as a society when everything initially shut down due to COVID-19 was that we had been running ourselves ragged, and nowhere was this more true than in our overscheduled family lives.
When my daughter decided she was done with dance, it was the end of my own unfulfilled childhood dreams. But when she said she was done with piano, it felt like so much more than that. It felt like a rejection of one of the things that had been such a big part of my own childhood. But I know that’s not fair. After all, she’s never seen her mom lose herself in a piece of music, fingers flying up and down the ivories. Instead she’s watched her mom spend hours lost in her own writing, her fingers making words instead of music. So much so that she has taken to doing her own writing, creating stories and drawing pictures to match, convinced that someday she will create something worthy of other’s praise. Her stage is the page, not the baby grand.
And while the dream of my little girl achieving my dreams may continue to go unfulfilled, is it just one of many dreams that I have for my daughter. I also wanted her to love sports, and she has picked two sports that we enjoy watching her play. She loves Harry Potter nearly as much as I do (although I don’t know that I’ll ever understand her obsession with Sirius Black) and I treasure the moments that we have shared reading many different books together even though she has been able to read on her own for years. We still share a common love of music and dance and drama, as evidenced by our occasional moments breaking out into singing along to the Wicked Broadway cast recording. And someday, when I decide that I can cough up the money to buy the tickets, I will buy The Nutcracker tickets that she has begged for the last three Decembers, because while she’s past the years of dance lessons, she still appreciates the beauty of the art form.