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Dance Mom Fails and Dreaming the Impossible Dream

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One of the most rewarding parts of parenthood is seeing your children wade through the wall of clutter to discover their talents and passions. We tried it all–soccer, gymnastics, swim team and upside-down basket weaving. She had marginal successes but there was one activity that was a complete flop: dancing. You see, my daughter Hadley has inherited my lack of rhythm. Instead, she has a raw, aggressive athleticism that makes her adept at climbing mountains, careening down a ski slope, scaling large buildings and reducing her competition to tears at any sign of weakness.

When she was three years old, she had her first – and last – dance recital. We invited the entire family out for the occasion, an event we knew would go down as yet one more painful chapter in the Johnson Family History of Dysfunction.

I hoped an early intervention would counteract her lack of groove but I was wrong. Early on, it became painfully clear that she is not made for the dance floor. Her only redeeming quality is she loves an audience, as was evidenced by her performance at the recital.

While most of the little girls timidly and gracefully danced, Hadley did her toe-heel kicks like she was crushing a philandering ex-boyfriend. She spun like a rabid Tasmanian devil. And then, when all the girls were linking hands in a circle, Hadley decided this was her moment and she brazenly improvised a solo performance. Until those lacking in vision reeled her back in, that is. (The legendary dance has likely gone viral somewhere on YouTube).

We laughed until we cried but quickly acknowledged that this is not her passion and so our quest continues to explore and discover her talents. To encourage, not crush The Dream because believe me, I know all about the crushing…

When I was young, I dreamed of singing on Broadway and would perform to my Annie and Sound of Music 8-Tracks for hours. The problem was I couldn’t carry a tune but that did not dissuade me. Until Lisa Low came on the scene.

Lisa was a girl at church who was the complete antithesis of me. She was petite, sweet, sang like an angel and was a fantastic actress. I was also extremely jealous of her. Whatever athletic or academic prowess I possessed seemed to pale in comparison to her gifts. One Sunday when I heard her song-bird voice, I snapped. Suddenly, it became the most important thing in the world to out-sing her the only way I know how: in volume.

As I sang louder, she rose to the occasion matching me with her melodic voice. Back and forth it went until we were both practically shouting. Exasperated, she finally turned to me.

“Amber, will you please stop? You are singing way too loud!”
“You are singing just as loudly as me,” I pointed out.
“Yes, but I sound good!”

Maybe I should give ballet another try. 

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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