Finding Joy on the Stage


You always hear the phrases, “find your passion” or “do what you love,” and all those clichés printed on Home Goods posters. And I believe it, to a point. You should have hobbies, things you like, things that pass the time. And I guess your children should also.

But there’s some societal pressure to find “your thing.” The thing that makes you want to do something other than your monotonous life stuff.

For me, clearly, it’s writing. And reading excellent books. And choosing those excellent books while wandering through the library. And I assumed people, including kids, find “their thing” organically. But for my daughter, it’s taken a while.

For some context, this daughter in question is only 11. So you may wonder what the rush or big deal is. And, of course, I’m not stressing myself or her out with nagging about what she wants to be when she grows up or what makes her heart soar. But as she’s growing up, and kids have been busy with gymnastics, soccer, and dancing after school, my daughter just…wasn’t.

Some of it was logistics. My husband and I work full-time out of the home, so there were always after-school programs and babysitters to contend with. A mid-week practice seemed impossible to sort out.

But it was also her disinterest. Through the years, she has tried ballet, hip-hop, and softball. And while I enthusiastically threw myself into being the best dance mom and sports mom I could be, her interest waned. I could tell these weren’t activities she was excited to go to, and then what’s the point?

There is this pressure for her to wear some sort of label with her interest, but the truth is, I just wanted her to find her place with a group of people outside of the classroom who shared her interests and had a common goal.

As a former child soccer player (don’t get excited, I wasn’t good) and an avid member of my high school’s performing arts programs, I understood the confidence builder in being a member of a team or a production, and I desperately wanted that for her. I offered extra pitching lessons to get her more interested in softball, but that only lasted one season. I brought her to her sister’s dance classes, but she wasn’t interested. And then, a random text from my friend and fellow FC Mom Contributor Maria changed everything.

Maria’s daughter was doing a musical with a local performing arts group, and she invited my daughter to join. So I asked my daughter, who said, “Sure,” and that was it. After the very first rehearsal, she came out glowing. We found it. We found “her thing.”

After years of quitting, or wanting to quit, every after-school and weekend activity, performing was what kept her attention. And you can see it at home. She wanders around the house singing and dancing and running lines. She talks about her friends from the group. And once that first show was completed, she wanted to do the next show (and the next, and the summer classes, and her school play).

Performing on the stage has given her a glow and an air of confidence I hadn’t seen before. And now I get it. Now I know why all of the sports moms stand in the rain and why the dance moms get up at 5 a.m. to drive their kids to competitions. Seeing your child full of joy is everything. I finally get it.


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