Things to tell my dancer daughter…

There are many things I could tell you about life, but the dance stage will teach you all of it.

Find yourself a tribe.  Welcome in all who support positivity, dedication, and teamwork.  Make others a priority and hard work your best friend.  Cheer for your friends loud enough to drown out their doubts.  Love them when they win, love them harder when they lose, and love them hardest when they forget their worth.  

Remember that at the end of the day, the winners are those who walk away smiling.  It doesn’t have to do with medals and trophies and crowns.  The ones who win are the ones who walk away knowing that whatever they left on the stage was enough.  It doesn’t matter if you scored second place, tenth place, nineteenth place, or dead last.  What matters is that you spent hours preparing, days upon days practicing, and you did on that stage what no one else could do.  

You were you.

You walked onto the stage and showed your heart to hundreds of people.  You kept dancing when you fell, you smiled when it hurt, and you did it all without missing a beat.

Also, don’t forget to look out at that audience once in a while.  You have a group of parents whom you’ve never met cheering for you and groups of little girls aspiring to be you.  You’ve got a daddy tearing up over you and a mom who might be a hot mess, but loves you fiercely and wouldn’t miss seeing you on that stage for a million dollars.  You’ve even got a bored brother out there who stops watching the show on his iPad to watch you instead.

At the end of the day, when the music stops and the makeup is washed off, remember that your talent will take you far, but your character will take you further.   Remember that this dance thing you do might fuel your soul, but it also fills my heart.  

(If I forget to tell you later, I had a really great time being your mom.)

This is dance, and these are the lessons the stage teaches. The rest is just details.

Be grateful, water your own grass,

…and drink coffee.

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