Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I had my own internal struggles and even today, still trying to accept it. You know Cait was in dance and in gym and I had written before about the struggle - to keep on with dance/gym etc. We found out that she had been skipping dance rehearsals for the flimsiest of reasons and actually outright lied to her dance instructor about leaving early during rehearsals because her "mummy says she has to go for tuition!" Even going as far to elaborate the lie: "Tuition in maths, science and english cos mummy says that is very important and i have to concentrate on that!"

Of course we had a major blow-up. Very major. Spoke to her gym coach, spoke to her principal, spoke to dance teacher etc. Hours of discussion, angst and anger, threats and cajoling, tears. Long and short of it was she decided to quit dance.

And THAT made me sad. I think secretly, I was thrilled to have a girl like her - someone so smart, so talented, that I was harbouring ambitious dreams of having an over-achiever kid. You know the sort - the ones who juggle three CCAs, win medals, are head prefects and score all A-stars and who are also kind, well-adjusted, articulate kids.

Yep - fell into the ol honey trap called over-ambition. I wanted all the accolades for her. I wanted her to keep on with dance, widen her horizons. I wanted a DSA in the SOTA on offer. I wanted Distinctions in ballet and medals in gym and A-stars in everything else. I wanted to bask in reflected glory.

I want, I want, I want.

I forgot all about what SHE wanted. And the answer was plain as day - she didn't want dance. She was so totally clued into gym that she does not want anything else. Could she be making a mistake in dropping dance? Perhaps. We won't know until all this recedes in the back mirror of history. Does she have talent in dance? Oh sure. Spades of it. Do I feel like its a big waste? Yep. But the little fact still remains at the end of it - she did not want it. And without that, what did everything else matter?

So I struggled with this - holding her up to my mirror, to society's definitions of success - and being able to walk away and say, okay, never mind. Do what you really enjoy and have my blessings while you do it. You know, I never knew that it takes a certain of strength to pry my death grip from Ambition.

I think KH is a better person and probably a better parent who is far more accepting. I didn't feel that he angsted over this as much as I did. In fact, we had a sharp and nasty blow-up between us about this which ended with me turning heel and walking out in the middle of a sushi lunch. I apologised later of course so we're good but you see the tension in all our lives at the point in time?

So she's quit dance. I think everyone is relieved that we've made a clear decision. The dance teacher is relieved - now the choreography won't be screwed up. The gym coach is happy - full speed ahead for the nationals! The principal is relieved - problem solved, irate mother appeased. Most of all, Cait is pleased and relieved - the lying has lessened (we think) and she seems happier.

From this point on, we can only look ahead.


Santhi said...

Appreciate your candid sharing especially 'exposing' the secret ambitions of so many mothers in wanting uncountable accolades for our children.
And it becomes so easy to forget what they want- the veryl persons living their lives. Hard for us to let go but it is crucial we do cos the children need us on their sides. Yes look ahead to her future successes in her chosen field ;D

Rita said...

Pat, it may turn out to be the best. Having a child in a National Squad makes me realise how much work and commitment she needs to put into her sports. And add school work on top of that. Not easy at all..

Even if she doesn't give up dance now, she will have to make a choice somewhere down the line and it will even be more heartache to give up either then because of the extra time invested in it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Patricia,
I am even more ashamed to share that I usually discourage my Isabelle to participate all sorts of activities in hope that she will have more time and do better than her studies.
Looking at the current situation, this is not the case at all as she is still struggling hard in her studies.
What am I doing? Is this what she wants or I want?


Rita said...


From what I've seen, discouraging your girl from investing time in CCA may not be the wisest move. Secondary schools DO take CCA into consideration in cases of appeals. For example, in a school with cut-off of 238 for its affliated boys (Pat, I am sure you know which school I'm referring to), I've seen cases where boys with score of 237 but with no CCA refused entry and boys with score as low as 221 but with strong CCA activities, accepted.

Anyway, I think schools here are stressful enough. CCA is a good way for them to let off steam and enjoy themselves :-)



Cory said...

Oh Pat, I totally understand!

Keith also didn't want to learn the violin anymore even though he was doing very well and gettin good....

in the end, i had to remind myself, it's what he wants. and he wants more sports - golf, martial arts, cycling, fishing...

i can live with that.... his father's comments? story for another time....


barbs said...

btdt and eventually the shit hits the fan, glad that its resolved for now. barbs