A Million Dreams: How My Daughter’s Love for Dance Taught Me to be Present



This year, my children turned six and four years old. I need to be more present.

I am sure that many of you reading this think that my kids are still very small. And I suppose you’re right, except all things are relative. And to me, they are big. Unreasonably and unbelievably so.

They have now both transitioned into “kids,” even though they will both always be my babies. And, if I’m perfectly honest, I have been spending much of my time over the past year feeling sorry that the past is over instead of being present and looking forward to the future. 

My thoughts have sounded something like this: “If the years of kids being little are the best years, then is the best part behind me? What do we have to look forward to? One day, the kisses and snuggles will stop, and then what?”

My husband (always the more rational and positive thinker in our relationship) has spent a good portion of his time reminding me that kids are supposed to grow up and that I can’t let my sadness for the time that has passed keep me from being present and enjoying what is happening right now.

I have been attempting to take his advice, though I have found myself falling into all too many late-night trips down the photo and video rabbit hole. 

But then, something happened.

This weekend my daughter had a dance recital. While she danced to the tune of The Greatest Showman’s “A Million Dreams,” the meaning of my life literally flashed before my eyes. Despite being still relatively small, my daughter has found something of her own that fulfills her heart. In her own words, “I want to dance forever.” 

Time will tell if her love affair with dance will continue. If not, I hope she will find another activity that brings her as much joy.

I am, for the first time in a while, looking forward instead of backward. Will I miss the days of endless snuggles and chunky legs hanging out of a shopping cart? You bet. But seeing my children find out who they are, what their strengths are, and what gives them joy. That’s the stuff to look forward to.

Our children aren’t just ours; they are their own individuals finding their way in the world. Realizing that a phase in our children’s lives may be over might be bittersweet, but it surely is not a reason to mourn the loss of the past.

Today I celebrate tomorrow.

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Hilary was born and raised in New York City. She moved to Connecticut after college to go to graduate school, where she met her husband Dan on their very first day. She now lives in Ridgefield with her husband and their two rugrats, a daughter C (born 2013) and a son L (born 2015). She works from home as an attorney, which would be completely impossible without coffee (for mom) and television (for the rugrats). She spends most of her free time (when there is any!) reading, drawing, and listening to lots of music. You can find her over at https://www.instagram.com/apinchofsaltus/, where she documents the humor of life through all things colorful.


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