First: Issa is both wacky and tacky today. She and two friends are in it together and all is right with the world.
I'm also hoping the other two remember. Yesterday was a tough one for our girl. Mean girl stuff just sucks, and although Issa handled it better than I ever could have at her age, it was hard. She went from school to the studio where she got all of her judges critiques, which may prompt growth but it's still hard. To say it was not her favorite day would be an understatement.
But...when she finished critiques, I watched my girl put on her dance shoes and walk into an open studio. I tried to talk, but all I got was, "I just need to dance." I watched through the glass as she ran steps. Not little girl twirls and spins, but technical stuff. Watching the mirror. Starting over. Trying again. I couldn't figure it out until I saw her shoulders start to relax. Hurt turned to determination in her eyes. It was one of those moments where I saw a flash of the woman she will become--is becoming. A woman who knows herself.
More and more, the studio is becoming Issa's safe space. No matter what the day held, she wants to be there. She needs to be there.
The past month I have seen Issa really start to grow up in a very tangible way. She's stretching, and I'm trying to stretch with her. Shift my parenting style to match what she needs. Honoring the fact that she is growing up while balancing that she is still so very young. It's a tricky tight rope act, and some days are more wobbly than others.
Yesterday was wobbly. As I sat and listened to Issa's critiques with her, I was the one who got teary. Not because of the feedback from the judges but because of the conversation with her teacher. She offered support and pushed Issa. She echoed what we had already talked about in so many ways. It's not about the score; it's about the growth. It's about the art and the love. And the love in the room was tangible. As I was holding on for dear life there was a safety net--a safe place and a woman who loves my girl fiercely. There is no greater gift than that.