Another recital has come and gone.  One more chapter of her dance life has closed.  As I reflect on her past year, it brings me so many smiles, and a few tears as well.  She has grown and learned so much.  She has grown UP, and that makes my heart both swell and break just a bit.  

She is everything that I could have never imagined.  She is life and fire and passion and kindness all rolled into a small and powerful pre-teen body. 

She is my best friend and my right hand.  I watch her on that stage and marvel at everything she is.  At everything she has accomplished.  At the sheer power and beauty that she embodies.

I can only imagine what goes on in that mind of hers.  But today, if I let my imagination take hold, I think THIS is what she would say…

Dear Hard Work,

You don’t scare me.  

I saw you coming, even at two-years-old.  I saw the blood, sweat, and tears that you asked for, but even that didn’t dissuade me.  

I’ve seen them all, you know.  The sweat after two quick changes and three dances in a row.  When I can barely breathe and can’t even stop to think about the muscle memory that lets me perfectly execute the moves that leave the audience spellbound.  

The tears after falling out of that trick I’d nailed dozens of times before.  Tears after the emotions overwhelm me when I think I can’t give any more of myself to the floor.

And the blood?  

The blood courses through me constantly asking me, “Have you had enough?  Your knee hurts.  You should stop.” (No.) “Your back hurts again, just take a break.” (Nope.) “You’ve tried that move at least fifty times.  Just give up.” (Never!)

The blood that courses through me breathes fire and life and DANCE.

It breathes life into me at the end of a long day when my pointe shoes hit the Marley.  It surges through me when we run that song one more time and I’m determined to get the counts right. It gives me drive when the day has been murky and my attitude needs adjusting.

It makes me feel alive.

That hard work you taunt in front of me?  It doesn’t even phase me.  It pushes me beyond my limits, and yet I still come back asking for more.

Give me more!  

Give me harder combos and more challenging tricks. Give me fast eight counts that make my head spin and impossible to execute turns.  Give me everything you’ve got.


You don’t hold a light to what burns inside of me.    

But even the brightest of flames need kindling every now and then. 

So tonight I’ll rest.  I’ll let my knee heal, and I’ll sleep knowing that I left everything on that stage today.  

But tomorrow?  Tomorrow I’ll wake up and expect you to be waiting for me again.

I’ll welcome you with open arms…because you are now my friend.  My constant.  My companion.  

And when the world gets tough and life seems uncertain, I know you will always be there.  

Dance may look beautiful and inconspicuous from the outside, but I know you for what you are.  Hard work. 

And I’ll welcome you in like an old friend every time you knock because you’ve taught me that life is manageable with the constant companionship that you provide.

With you, I will travel through life embracing all that you bring.  

Treat me well, Hard Work, for together we will accomplish great things.


A Dancer’s Heart

Be grateful (for hard work), water your own grass,

…and drink coffee.

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1 Comment

  1. Love this, you described Emily perfectly. She works hard and plays even harder

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