It all started with a tiny little 3 year old.
We signed her up for dance lessons out of someone's renovated garage-turned-dance-studio, mostly because I was a dancer and we thought it'd be a cute thing for her to try out.
And then she turned 4 and we found a studio that was recommended to us by some friends.
And then she turned 5 and made the SNS team where she danced 4 hours a week.
Here is a video of that solo---adorable.
Those people quickly became her family. I found myself teaching and assisting 6+ hours most weeks in the acro/technique/jazz/team classes and our family practically lived at the studio. She chose to take 10+ hours of classes each week and grew so much as a dancer.
Every. Single. Time.
It was a lot more difficult and she spent a lot of extra time figuring out the counts and the acro tricks and making sure she was ready for the stage.
And each time she hit that stage, she was ready for it and you could see her enjoying those two minutes of "fame".
But sometimes hard things happen outside of our control and when the extremely difficult decision was made last week that I was quitting my job at our then-current studio, it caught this little girl in the crossfire and she got burned.
And she was not happy. I mean, why would she be happy about something like that? I wasn't even happy about it. It's been a week and I am already aching that I don't have the job title "dance instructor" anymore because teaching children to dance was quite possibly the most rewarding thing I've ever done (besides motherhood).
But this ache wasn't about me anymore because more than anything else in the world, I want to support her and find a way to let her do the things she loves.
And so I reached out to a friend and she suggested doing trial classes at her studio.
And for the very first time in Hayley's life, no tears were shed as she walked into this new place to take classes with children she didn't know.
Because I can remember the tears from her first studio class and how she cried both years she tried out for team. And I remember so vividly when she tried out for company a little over a year ago how she cried through the majority of it because new things overwhelm her sensitive little heart so much.
And when a full hour of stretch class had her tired and sore and I told her she didn't have to take the next day's stretch class, she still wanted to and we went back the next day for another hour of stretching.
That's not the point of this post.
The point is that my sensitive, shy daughter has gone through a few hard things in her life and she is learning and growing and finding her own bravery in the process.
In fact, as we were eating dinner after her first night of classes, she said to me, "Mom, you can just drop me off at the studio tomorrow...because I'm already THAT brave."
And she is THAT brave.
She has now started her second week of classes at the new studio and this morning, we got an email inviting her to join the Micro Company team.
To say she is ecstatic would be an understatement.
Change is hard for our family and it seems like we've seen a lot of huge changes over the past four years but through it all, it's been a really beautiful thing for me to see all of us learning and growing from the things we've been through.
More than anything, I just feel extremely lucky that I get to be the mom of this brave little girl.
I get a front row seat to watch her grow up and learn and be in new situations and when she has hard times, I get to be the one she comes to and cries with.
I'm so lucky I've been trusted with the job title "Mom" because that is more important and rewarding than being a dance teacher, a therapist, or any other job titles I might have.
I see great things in this girl's future and I am so proud to be her mom.