This is not how I expected to dance


I knew what I wanted.

I wanted to dance.

I danced every chance I got.

I dreamed in tutus and tulle, ribbon and releve.

Oh yes, I moved through the world on my toes.

But those girls. They were serious.

Not like the family-friendly studio where I had grown up.

Those girls were a company. In half a dozen classes each week, they bonded. In one class a week, I intruded.

Two classes a week. Still not enough.

And so I dropped. I was out.

I still moved through the world on my toes.

I still dreamed in tutus and tulle.

But that’s all it was. A dream.

I still tried. I stretched. I took classes. Less serious classes. We were adults. With jobs. And families. One class a week was a lot for us all.

But this is not how I expected to dance.

I see the same dreams in her now. The tutu that only comes off when she sleeps. The way she responds to the music as it plays.

She moves through the world on her toes.

Her classes, well they are magical. Stories and costumes. Songs and steps.

But home is where she dances. Where she lets go and just moves. Where fewer eyes are on her and she is just purely and simply herself.

I won’t confuse my dream with hers. Hers will be her own. Classes or no classes. Serious or not. I’ll support her.

But now my dreams are for her.

I dream that she will go after her goals with the determination and tenacity that her goals most definitely deserve.

That her life will always match her expectations.

I dream that she’ll always dance as she wants to dance.

baby at ballet class in costume


This post was written in response to a prompt: write a memoir piece about an unfulfilled goal or a broken resolution, beginning with the words, “I knew what I wanted”.
Write on Edge: RemembeRED


  1. I love that this ISN’T about a New Year’s resolution.

    It’s so hard to know…you love something, and you’re good at it, and then you discover that to do what you love, you have to be obsessive about it, it has to be the only thing you do, and you know that’s not a recipe for a healthy life, unless it truly is your calling. And how can you know that for your child?

    I’m with you here…chances are neither your child nor mine will ever be one of those prodigies, because we won’t push them. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • Exactly. The obsessive part is not always healthy and sometimes takes the joy away. I’m ok with no prodigies here as long as she does what she loves!

  2. Dream and encourage her. She will appreciate that small nudge when she is older and can see that you were making opportunities for her to accomplish her goals and dreams.

  3. This was very beautifully written. I have few other words to add to this except, just, yes.

    “She moves through the world on her toes.”

    I see this in my daughter, too. I was not a dancer, but a musician, so I thrill at seeing her respond to music. I, like you, hope she has the desire to follow this love, but will not force her down the path that isn’t her own.

  4. What a cutie! It’s amazing how life gets in the way, but then our dreams change and sometimes for the better.

  5. What a beautiful post, and beautiful message too!

  6. And may her dance always have beauty and grace by her own definition. I took ballet for maybe two years as a kid. Maybe. I think it was actually a year and a half. My kids have both already been doing it longer than I have, and I suspect I’m going to be blowing a l-o-t of my hard earned money at the Montgomery ballet in the next couple of years.

    • “And may her dance always have beauty and grace by her own definition.” – that will most definitely stick with me as I watch her dance. Thank you.

  7. Well, this is plain gorgeous. And graceful, and musical, and all that is inside you. And your daughter.

  8. Beautiful, and exactly true to a mama’s heart 🙂
    tori nelson recently posted..Sweet Night HorrorsMy Profile

  9. Dreams are a tough thing. We want our kids to pursue them, but sometimes they can’t. Cost, time, location can limit dreams. My girls have a dream to play the olympics! But we live in a small town…you can imagine the rest of the story.

    Have you ever seen the children’s book called Degas and the Little Dancer? It’s a beautifully written and illustrated story. You and your daughter will love it. Happy SITS day.
    Laura recently posted..The gift of riskMy Profile

  10. Hi Tricia,
    Beautiful poem! Thank you for sharing your heart. (I love a tutu myself!)

  11. I love this post Tricia. It’s also important to me to allow Chloe’s dreams to be her own…and I will support her in aanything that makes her happy.
    Tara @ recently posted..Sunblock tips for childrenMy Profile

  12. You have a way with words! I really got drawn into your story. It is hard to give up dreams, but sometimes we can grab hold of part of the dream and create a new one. Visiting from SITS. Happy Sits day!

  13. I love this! I don’t have a daughter yet, but I hope the baby I’m pregnant with is. Happy Sits Day!
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  14. What a beautiful post. So honest and real. I love that prompt. Happy SITS day. 🙂
    thedoseofreality recently posted..Top 12 Things I Learned At Disney WorldMy Profile

  15. What a lovely post! I took one day of ballet. I cried and my mom didn’t make me go back. I wish she had. Now I dance in the kitchen and embarrass my kids! 🙂

    Enjoy your SITS day! 🙂
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  16. Such a sweet piece and something we should all remember about our children, to love them and encourage them in their dreams!

    Happy SITS day!
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  17. Absolutely beautiful.
    misssrobin recently posted..Why Doesn’t the World Stop?My Profile

  18. You are so good with words. The Big One dances and is good at it. He does Jazz and Hip Hop. He is 13 but came to me when he was 11 and said he wanted to Dance. So I jumped on it. Next year he will be in Jazz, Hip Hop, Musical theater, and an assitant to Hip Hop. He is doing what he wants to do with nothing but support from me.
    mom2kmjx2 recently posted..The Big One ProductionMy Profile

  19. I always find it amazing when the timing of finding a blog such as this coincides with a dilemma I am finding in my own life. I, too, had dance dreams…but my family could no longer afford to send me after I was 8 and I had to fulfill them in a smaller way on the high school dance team. Now I have a 9 year old daughter with those same dreams and our income was such last year that we “thought” it could support her in company. We’ve had her in company for a year and she has grown tremendously as a dancer but we found it was more expensive than we had anticipated and has strapped us financially. She’s in the world of dance now…it’s in her heart…and we are lacking the funds to continue. I am at a loss as to what to do next year and it breaks my heart. Do I send her to a studio like the one you describe where she’ll take classes with company members but cannot take the stage with them and cannot take but 2 classes? Do I go back to work to support dance? Will she one day have the same feeling of an unfulfilled dream that you shared here? I teared up at your blog here…I don’t want her to feel this way one day. It is beautiful that you are letting your daughter follow her dreams in her own way, it is what I have strived to do as well…there must be a strong genetic component to loving to dance. If she follows in your footsteps you may be in a similar position and you may want to start saving for the dance world now (it costs about the same amount as college tuition for one year). I wish you the best on this journey and hope I find the answer to my dilemma soon…you’ve given me more to think about, thank you…
    Amy “Mom of 3 with a PhD” recently posted..What Price for Perfectionism in Parenting?My Profile

  20. This is a beautifully written post, and a lovely picture of your daughter. Happy SITS day!
    Modern Gypsy recently posted..Book review: Saving June – Hannah HarringtonMy Profile

  21. I love this!! Very sweet..Happy SITS day! you are a good mommy!!
    shari lynne @ Faith Filled Food for Moms recently posted..The Most Deelish Homemade Waffles!My Profile

  22. And doesn’t she look sweet in that little tutu!

    I remember running about everywhere on my toes as well when I was a kid. But I wasn’t as serious as you. I didn’t even take once a week classes.

    Happy SITS day!
    Classic NYer recently posted..On conversations with rodentsMy Profile

  23. Beautifully written. Happy SITS Day!
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  24. What a beautiful post!!! Thank you for sharing it!!!
    Rebecca Rider recently posted..Our baby’s nighttime routineMy Profile

  25. Beautiful post. I think mine would actually be quite similar.

    Happy SITS Day!
    another jennifer recently posted..My Giving Pledge: June DonationMy Profile

  26. So touching!
    Motherhood on the Rocks recently posted..LINK UP WITH LINK’N BLOGS #12My Profile

  27. Sweet words, sweet picture!
    Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom recently posted..The Three KingsMy Profile

  28. Love this post, so great. Your little one is adorable.
    Melissa recently posted..Oceanika MerfinsMy Profile

  29. I also dream that my daughters will grow up to follow their dreams. I love the rhythem of your post. Happy SITS Day!
    Andrea @ No Doubt Learning recently posted..Owen and the Summer Reading Book ExchangeMy Profile

  30. Beautiful! One of the greatest joys of parenting, for me, is seeing my children learning new things and really enjoying what they are doing. Children are amazing and perhaps end up teaching us more than we teach them.

    Happy SITS day. 🙂
    Anne recently posted..Daddy-Daughter Date Night at Chick-fil-A ~ Reasons Daddies Should Date Their DaughtersMy Profile

  31. Seriously?!
    Are you sure you don’t live in my house and are not me in some other dimension???
    Student Mom (Jenn) recently posted..You Know You’re a Mom when…My Profile

  32. I always wished I had taken dance lessons when I was younger!
    Cheryl recently posted..4th of July Activities for KidsMy Profile

  33. Oh the dreams of little girls….I remember those days. I wanted to sing. Thank you for sharing this, it’s lovely, and honest, and a wonderful “resolution” if you will as a mother. Stopping by from Sits- happy belated :).
    Jessie Akos recently posted..Type-A Parent Conference: My Big Take-AwayMy Profile

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