Parenting a teenager is hard. We all know about the hormones causing mood swings, attitudes, self-esteem and self-confidence issues. As adults, we’ve been there, we get it. It sucks. It sucks for the teens, and it sucks for the parents. That’s not what I’m talking about today.
Here’s what I’ve been struggling with. I’m going to take you back to earlier this week… Grace had her fitting for her first pair of pointe shoes. This was a big day for her! I think I was as excited as she was! I never got to dance en pointe when I was a younger dancer. Neither of us had a clue what to expect.
I REALLY wanted to document this big day. Anyone from our dance studio might tell you I’m a bit of a spaz when it comes to taking pictures. I joke that I’m the “Stalkarazzi” of our dance studio. I mostly take pictures of my daughter’s group and her friends, but I try to get a little of everyone. Why? Because I enjoy sharing them with the other parents and teachers at the studio. I’m not a great photographer, but I enjoy taking pictures, and I enjoy sharing them.
Guess what? I didn’t take one single picture at the pointe fitting. WHY NOT??? Because my daughter is a teenager.
This year, she is moving up to a brand new Teen Company group at Lake Area Dance Studio. She is dancing with many of the same girls from last year, plus a couple. She’s also in a mixed age tap small group (with the Senior Company group). She’s both nervous and excited about dancing with some of these older girls. I didn’t want to embarrass her by being the spaz with the camera at her first activity with the older girls.
There were a couple points (no pun intended) in the hour-long appointment that I really had to hold myself back. I tried to just enjoy the moment. As she sat there putting lamb’s wool over her toes for the first time, I wanted to document that moment with a picture.
When she went up to the barre, and went up on her toes for the first time, I was so proud! I wanted to capture that moment, that feeling, but I didn’t – at least not with my camera.
As she tried on several different pairs, as she chose the ones that were just right for her, as she went up to the counter clinging to those brand new shoes that she was both nervous and excited to own, I didn’t take one picture. There was even a very sweet moment between Grace and her teacher that I so badly wanted to put in her scrapbook, but I didn’t take the photo.
I held back, I enjoyed the moment. This is not a bad thing. So why is it so hard? Is because of social media? Is it because I just want to remember every moment always?
When the older girls left, and it was just me, Grace, Miss Maria, and another girl she danced with last year, I could have taken some pictures. But… I didn’t. Instead, I just watched…
When I got in the car to head home, I was a little sad I didn’t take any pictures. Truthfully, I was not just a little sad, I felt guilty. Don’t ask why, I just do that sometimes for no good reason.
I asked Grace if I could take a picture of her at home with her new shoes on. She said no. Not because she didn’t want a picture in them, but because she didn’t want to get dog hair on her precious new shoes.
Grace said that I should have taken pictures at the fitting. More Mom guilt. That wasn’t her intention. She just wondered why I hadn’t. She’s so used to me being the “Stalkarazzi”, obsessively taking pictures of everything… how do you make that switch? Should I?? Or should I keep on taking the pictures?? If I keep taking the pictures, am I potentially missing out on those moments of just feeling???
The internal struggles of the parent of a teenager…
I just wanted to send a quick “Thank you!” to the employees at Grand Jete in St. Paul. The woman who helped us (I’m sorry, I didn’t catch her name) took the time to not only fit each dancer for just the right shoes, but also took the time to explain proper care of pointe shoes. Who knew there was so much to learn? Now that I know how pointe shoes are made, I understand why you always see them hanging. Makes sense that you need to keep them dry (though gross to think about sweaty feet). ;-)
I especially appreciated how she had each dancer try on a few different types of shoes, even when they thought they had found the perfect fit. I never even knew there were so many different kinds of pointe shoes. There are harder and softer shanks (the part on the bottom), different types of toes (some are more rounded, some more square)… It was a learning process for all of us, but was also a lot of fun. The personal attention really made it special for all the dancers getting their first pair of pointe shoes!